Sunday, April 17, 2016

Prison Nation 1

An urgent call from Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network:

"On 17 April each year, Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian people, and the world, mark the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners. Commemorated since 1974, when the first Palestinian prisoner, Mahmoud Hijazi, was freed in a prisoner exchange with the Palestinian Resistance, 17 April is a day of protests, rallies, marches, forums and more to commemorate the struggle of Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli occupation jails and demand their freedom...

"Over 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in Israeli jails. More than 700 of them are held in administrative detention without charge or trial. The others face military courts which convict over 99% of the Palestinians who appear before them. Over 400 Palestinian children as young as 12 years old are held in Israeli prisons.

"Every night, Israeli occupation forces conduct violent armed invasions of Palestinian villages, cities, refugee camps and homes, ransacking them and arresting dozens of Palestinians. This comes amid near-daily killings and extrajudicial execution of Palestinians by occupation forces, the demolition of the homes of the families of Palestinian prisoners, new racist laws targeting Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship and further escalating repression...

"On Palestinian Prisoners' Day 2016, key issues facing Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons include:

*Solitary confinement: nearly 20 Palestinians are being held in long-term solitary confinement, a form of torture. They are demanding return to the general population.

*Administrative detention: over 700 Palestinians are imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention, often targeting community leaders and activists like Eteraf Rimawi, circus teacher Mohammed Abu Sakha or journalist Musab Kufaisheh.

*Attacks on students: In the past weeks, Al-Quds University, the Arab American University and other Palestinian universities have been raided by Israeli occupation forces. Student leaders and activists at Bir Zeit University, Al-Quds University, An-Najah University and other institutions have been arrested and imprisoned in an attempt to stifle student organizing and activism.

*Torture & mistreatment: Nearly every Palestinian prisoner is subject to 'legitimate' torture and abuse under interrogation, including lengthy periods of being held in painful stress positions, sleep deprivation, sexual threats and threats to family members, and direct beating and physical assaults. The vast majority of children arrested report experiencing physical and psychological torture and abuse at the hands of Israeli occupation soldiers and intelligence agents."

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