Passionate Letter Highlights the Unrelenting Plight of Palestinian Prisoners 21Jul11 July 22, 2011

Palestine News Network -   21 July 2011
Ramallah – PNN – In a letter sent by Ms. Feda Abdelhady-Nasser, Charge d’Affaires, to the UN Secretary-General, the President of the Security Council and the President of the UN General Assembly, Ms Abdelhady-Nasser outlined the grave plight Palestinians prisoners continue to face under Israeli occupation.
The well-researched, passionate letter details the greater threat posed to prisoner human rights since Israeli PM Netanyahu pledged within the last few weeks to ‘toughen’ conditions on Palestinians currently serving time in prison. Palestinian prisoners are already treated with little regard to their human and civil rights.
Palestinians held in Israeli prions can often be subjected to harassment and intimidation, physical and mental maltreatment, unhygienic living conditions, forced interrogation, solitary confinement, denial of family visits and in some cases torture. And in direct violation to the Fourth Geneva Convention, many prisoners have been transferred from prisons in the occupied Palestinian territories to the occupying state of Israel.
Currently there are more than 6000 Palestinian civilians who have been imprisoned or detained by Israel. It should be noted that of this number at least 245 are children, 37 are women, and 19 are elected officials.
The letter continues to highlight the case of three prisoners who have suffered at the hands of the Israeli prison service. Yousef Skaki, Atef Wreidat and Maisara Abu Hamdiyye have been on hunger strike since the 12th June in protest of their living conditions that they are forced to live in and Israel’s rejection of their humanitarian request to be moved to another prison that could better take care of their health needs. Between them they suffer from diabetes, hypertension and heart and kidney problems. All three prisoners are also denied family visits and are routinely fined money they cannot pay.
The Israeli army arrests many male Palestinians who are heads of households and who often bring in the majority of income or in some cases the sole income for their family. This has a direct devastating economic impact on those Palestinian families.
Yesterday Skaki and Wreidat were transferred to a prison hospital after their health conditions deteriorated to a fatal level. The letter is frank and honest and explains that both are in critical condition and doctors have warned that Skaki’s body is beginning to rot. The family sadly lost a member recently as ‘Skaki’s 11 year old daughter, Abeer, died two months ago after suffering a severe nervous breakdown and coma following the obstruction of her visit to see her father in prison.’
It must be noted that many arrests are made during violent raids of Palestinian residential areas and Refugee Camps. It is known that often confessions to crimes will be made under duress, and under promises that the detainee will get a shorter term in prison if he/she pleads guilty to a particular charge against them than if they do not confess to anything.
A report by BT’selem this week showed that Palestinian minors are as likely to be subjected to unlawful conditions and treatment as adults. Amazingly from 2005-2010 only one minor was acquitted from hundreds accused of stone throwing; the rest were sentenced to prison terms.
The letter concludes by calling upon the United Nations to force Israel to comply with International law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Under law the occupying power has a duty of care to the population it occupies and Israel must be held accountable for human rights violations.
The letter sent this week is the 397th sent by the Charge d’Affaires for the attention of the Security Council since the 29th September 2000.

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