Statement on Prisoners’ Day

April 17, 2012   

 DAY OF PALESTINIAN POLITICAL PRISONERS

On April 17, 1974, Palestinian political prisoner, Mahmoud Baker Hijazi, was released from Israeli jails in the first prisoner exchange deal with Israel.That same year, the Palestinian National Council declared April 17 as a day of solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners, has since beencommemorated every year.

In the occupied Palestine, arrests and imprisonment are as common as sunrise and sunset. Every Palestinian family at some point, has beenimprisoned or another member of his family. The issue of prisoners is something that affects directly and widely to the entire Palestinian society.

Since the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in 1967, Israeli occupying forces have detained more than 700.000 Palestinian; men, women and children are paying a high price for resisting the occupation.

They are the evidence of the arbitrariness and illegality of the Israeli justice system that governs the lives of Palestinian civilians to hit military orders, so, political leaders, human rights defenders, housewives, students, journalists and professionals, of any political affiliation, are persecutedand imprisoned (a large majority in administrative detention without charge or trial), they may spend years without being charged and without the possibility of defending themselves. Palestinian prisoners are subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, torture, administrative detention,interrogation without counsel, prohibition of family visits, isolation, solitary confinement, medical absences and many other measures, whichflagrantly violate international humanitarian law and the rights humans. [1]

Torture and ill-treatment of detained children, violate all international agreements the protection of minors, the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Israel is signatory. The Gazan prisoners in Israeli jails are under the law illegal combatants; they have denied family visits for more than four years. These are collective punishment also reach their families. From behind the bars of the occupation, prisoners are fighting for their freedom and freedom of all Palestinians, they are only armed with his will and firmness, they are challenging not only the prison authorities, but the entire Israeli system of colonialist occupation. Recently, the prisoner Khader Adnan, who was a heroic hunger strike for 66 days, finally, his order of administrative detention was not renewed.This order expires today 17. Hana Shalabi, who was on hunger strike for 43 days has been released but deported to Gaza [2].   Hana and Khader believe that freedom is more precious than life: we prefer to starve rather than surrender to injustice and humiliation, our dignityis worth more than food and water. These historic strikes break new ground and revitalize the liberation movement of prisoners (currently all administrative detainees boycotting the military court). In the words of prisoner Ameer Makhoul, “the cause of the release of prisoners required to open the battle on two complementary fronts, inside and outside the prison walls.” With the campaign Put a Face to Palestinian Political Prisoners, Human Rights Association of Andalusia and the Palestine SolidarityPlatform, ask the citizens and solidarity organizations their support for guide their energy towards effective achievements and involvewidely civil society in political commitment to the Palestinian people and ensure that international organizations assume theirresponsibilities forcing Israel to comply with international law and human rights. We demand the Spanish government that  intervene and make all necessary pressure on the government of Israel for the immediate release of all Palestinian political prisoners.  Human Rights Association of Andalusia and Platform of Solidarity with Palestine. Seville,  April 17, 2012 1] Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. [2] Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits “mass forcible transfers or individual, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power or any other country, occupied or not.” Deportation is illegal andis one of the most serious war crimes.

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