Palestinian prisoners plan protest fast

RAMALLAH, West Bank: Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners plan a fast-to-death strike to protest deteriorating living conditions in Israeli jails.

The leaders of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement said in a letter addressed to the Palestinian Minister of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Issa Qaraqi that some 400 prisoners, some of them sick, elderly and women, will emulate the Irish prison strike of 1981. He was referring to the fast to death strike that Irish Republican volunteers undertook in a British jail on Irish soil to retain their status as political prisoners. The British government, led by Margaret Thatcher, demanded they be classified as criminals. Ten men died.

The prisoners said the Palestinian inmates were also protesting the Israeli refusal to release them in the prisoner swap deal.

According to the letter, the Israel Prison Service denies Palestinian prisoners — mainly those in solitary confinement — family visits, access to education, telephones and satellite channels. The prison authority, the minister said, blocks the entry of clothes into prisons and imposes fines on violators.

It added that prisoners who are suffering from cancer, paralysis, diabetes, blindness and high blood pressure “need special medical care that the Israeli authorities refuse to extend.”


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