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Palestinian Prisoners Day

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Palestinian Prisoners Day

by Stephen Lendman

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Nearly all Palestinian prisoners are political ones.

On April 17, Palestinians commemorate Prisoners Day. They do so annually. They've done it since 1979. It marks Mahmoud Hijazi's release. Israel freed him in its first ever prisoner swap.

Addameer honored thousands in Israel's gulag. They're held lawlessly. Now's "the time to hold the Occupation accountable for crimes against the prisoners and detainees," it said.

Freeing them remains a top priority. "Their struggle is central to the liberation of Palestinian land and the return of its people. It represents the frontline of peace and justice."

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Al Mezan 's Samir Zaquot expressed "concern for the detainees' health and lives and our solidarity with Palestinian and Arab detainees in Israeli prisons, and hold the Israeli authorities responsible for their well-being."

"We strongly condemn Israel's gross abuses of Palestinian detainees, starting with the Unlawful Combatant Law, the policy of administrative detention, and other procedures that violate detainees' rights, including solitary confinement, medical negligence, barring of family visitation, and other practices."

Al Mezan "demands that the international community - especially the signatory parties to the Geneva Conventions - put pressure on the occupying state and force it to respect its obligations under international law, and to treat detainees humanely in keeping with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners issued in 1955, and other relevant international standards."

"There must also be steps taken towards guarantees of the release of all Palestinian prisoners, especially those thrown in prison without charge or fair trial, including appeal to all means of defense."

Since Israel's 1967 occupation, over 750,000 Palestinians were imprisoned. Israel did so lawlessly. Around 40% of Palestinian males were affected. Children aged 10 or younger are treated like adults. Around 10,000 women were abused horrifically like men.

Since the September 2000 second Intifada, around 78,000 Palestinians were incarcerated. They include over 9,000 children, about 950 women, and over 50 Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members.

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Since 1967, over 50,000 Palestinians were held administratively. Israel did so uncharged and untried. Many are held longterm. Nearly half were imprisoned since September 2000.

Currently about 4,900 Palestinians are incarcerated. They include 235 children, 14 women, 168 administrative detainees, two former ministers, and 14 legislators.

About 530 have life sentences. Another 77 have been held for over 20 years. Twenty-five lost freedom for over 25 years.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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