Palestinians protest to support hunger striking prisoners
More than 1,000 people took to streets on Monday in the northern city of Nablus to express solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners who are on long-term hunger strike.
Some 1,500 people also gathered in the center of al-Khalil (Hebron) to voice concern over the deteriorating health condition of the hunger strikers and demand their immediate release from jails.
The health condition of the prisoners, Ayman Sharawneh, Samer al-Issawi, Jaafar Ezzedine, and Tareq Qaa’dan, has sparked several demonstrations across the Palestinian territories.
Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherin Ashton, asking her to take actions to secure the release of the Palestinian hunger strikers.
“We believe it is no longer acceptable to merely request better treatment of Palestinians in Israeli occupation prisons, but to demand an end to the arbitrary system of Israeli detentions,” the letter said.
Erakat highlighted the deteriorating health of the four prisoners, saying Palestinians would hold the Israeli regime “fully responsible” if one of them died.
On February 16, EU foreign policy chief Catherin Ashton said in a statement that the European Union was following “with concern reports about the deteriorating health condition” of Ayman Sharawneh, Samer al-Issawi, Jaafar Ezzedine, and Tareq Qaa’dan.
Ashton called on the Tel Aviv regime to bring “formal charges” against detainees and “allow for the immediate restoration of their family visiting rights and calls for the full respect of international human rights obligations” towards them.
Al-Issawi, 33, was arrested in July 2012 only months after being released as part of a prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas. He has been on hunger strike since August 2012 to protest against his administrative detention.
Administrative detention is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods of time.
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