Palestine demands protection of prisoners being kept behind bars in Israeli jails

Bethlehem/PNN/

Palestine has called upon the international community as well as signatories to the Geneva Conventions to take on their responsibilities concerning the protection of Palestinian detainees being kept in Israeli prisons and detention centers.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in a statement that Israel must be held accountable for its persecution of Palestinian people, including its mass and arbitrary detentions.

The statement was issued on the occasion of Prisoner’s Day which is marked by the Palestinians on April 17 every year.

The ministry said Israeli courts have proven to be a tool in the hands of the Tel Aviv regime’s authorities to persecute Palestinian people on ethnic and political grounds in flagrant breach of the international humanitarian law.

The statement also described the tribunals as “colonial military courts” that do not meet “the minimum standards of the due legal process and a fair trial”, calling on the international community to work for the immediate release of Palestinian prisoners.

The Geneva Conventions, four international treaties that aim to protect people not involved in the conflict — civilians, medics, prisoners of war, and soldiers who can no longer fight — were adopted on August 12, 1949, after lengthy deliberations.

The silence of the international community has enabled Israeli authorities to continue the policy of arbitrary detentions and systematic violations against Palestinian prisoners, their families, and their rights, the Palestinian foreign ministry said.

The ministry pledged to continue working on the legal, political and diplomatic levels to ensure the protection of the inmates.

Last week, the Prisoners and Ex-prisoners Affairs Authority said Ashraf Abu Sorour, a Palestinian prisoner with a serious health condition, had been held in solitary confinement at an Israeli jail and denied access to necessary medication.

The advocacy group said Israeli prison officials were deliberately neglecting Abu Sorour’s health condition and refraining from providing him with necessary treatment or proper food.

Abu Sorour, a resident of Aida refugee camp north of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, is being held in Sheba prison where he has lost all his teeth in recent years.

He suffers from acute gum infection, which affects his ability to chew food and causes indigestion.

Abu Sorour was arrested in November 2001 and taken to the al-Jalameh investigation center where he had been subjected to severe torture. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment.

He has faced numerous types of torture throughout his long detention over the past years.

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