HaSharon prison rejects visitation appeal by longtime separated couple

Related: Palestinian Prisoners – Special Topic | Prisoners – Category

[ 28/09/2011 – 08:38 PM ]

NABLUS, (PIC)– It was a day of disappointment for Ukrainian native Irena Sarahna after Israeli prison authorities denied her the right to visit her husband Ibrahim Sarahna, 41, as the couple, being held in separate prisons, have been banned from visits by other loved ones in the framework of additional punitive measures.

Irena was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being arrested in May 2002 for allegedly abetting her husband in a resistance operation against the Israeli occupation. She had refused to be deported back to her country of origin in a plea bargain, but instead opted to stay by her husband’s side in Bethlehem, explained Bothina Daqmaq, an attorney and chairperson of the Mandela prisoner’s rights organization in Palestine, after a recent visit to Irena.

Irena recently made an appeal for a visit to her husband after a long lapse and said she was shocked to discover the the HaSharon prison administration rejected the request.

The couple have also been banned from regular visits by Irena’s mother and 13-year-old daughter Yasmin, who live in the Ukraine. During the most recent visit a year ago — which was granted after appeals — the occupation authorities refused to allow her 11-year-old daughter, who lives with her husband’s parents in Bethlehem, to visit as well.

Daqmaq said the Sarahnas have plans to protest should the visitation ban remain, holding that Israeli law guarantees the couple the right to visitation.

Ibrahim Sarahna is currently held prisoner in Ramon prison and is serving six life sentences in addition to 45 years.

Daqmaq added that Irena was only permitted to see her husband a few times and for short instances since their arrests which took place on the same day. In the past year, the attorney said, the Israeli Prison Service amended its spousal visitation laws, which permitted visits every four months, so that the matter is left up to prison administrations whether or not spouses would be allowed to meet.


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