Palestinian Prisoners Day – 17 April
From the Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum
On 17 April each year, Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian people, and the world mark the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners.
It has been commemorated since 1974, when the first Palestinian prisoner, Mahmoud Hijazi, was freed in a prisoner exchange with the Palestinian Resistance, 17 April is a day of protests, rallies, marches, forums and more to commemorate the struggle of Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli occupation jails and demand their freedom. Palestinian Prisoners’ Day this year comes amid vicious repression of Palestinian organizing.
PIEF has actively campaigned for the rights of prisoners beginning 2014 when the World Week for Peace in Palestine called on churches, civil society, academics, artists, and individuals worldwide to campaign for the release of Palestinians unjustly detained; and to work for the deliverance of all who are bound by the shackles of conflict, violence, injustice, mistrust.
17th April is not a stand-alone day in addressing the issue of Palestinian prisoners. But it is a day that reminds us that there are as many as 7000 prisoners (children, women, and men) held by Israel of whom over 700 are administrative detainees- people without access to justice under an irrational and brutal law.
More news and resources:
In a report from Palestine News Network- English
“Leading British MPs from all parties have signed a parliamentary motion calling on the Israeli parliament to release the Palestinian MP Marwan Barghouthi who has been in jail continuously for the last 14 years.
They call for his release so that he can “play a part in the process of reconciliation, unification and negotiation that will be needed before Palestine achieves its independence”.
Those leading British MP’s cite the precedent of South Africa, where Nelson Mandela was released from prison so he could take part in negotiations for majority rule, and India, where Gandhi and Nehru were released by the British so they could take part in negotiations for independence”.
The MP’s point out that Barghouthi, now 56, “is still the candidate in the strongest position to win a presidential election to succeed Mahmoud Abbas, according to a recent poll by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research”.
3000 Nights: Stories from behind prison bars
“3000 Nights” documents the story of Palestinian female prisoners through the figure of a prisoner facing Israeli interrogations, torture and violations. The film illustrates daily Israeli violations against Palestinian prisoners, and narrates the story of a pregnant prisoner giving birth to her child within the confines of the prison’s cell, and that of her new-born child.
The film focuses on the stories of Palestinian female prisoners during the 1980s and highlights the experiences of over 15,000 female prisoners arrested since 1967 (according to reports by the Palestinian Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs). The film also points to the plight of Palestinian and Arab prisoners at large.
Report: 647 Palestinians arrested in March; 750 now held in administrative detention
Four prisoners’ advocacy organizations in Palestine (Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Prisoners Affairs Commission and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights – Gaza) issued a report on Israeli occupation arrests and imprisonment of Palestinians in March 2016.
Members of the European Parliament take action in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners
To mark International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners Members of the European Parliament from different political parties expressed their solidarity with imprisoned Palestinians by taking a picture behind the bars. The action is part of a wider photo exhibition “If I were in Palestine…” organised by ECCP member Palestina Soidariteit.