On yet another Prisoners’ day, the Palestinian commemorate another year of mass arbitrary arrest against all segments of the Palestinian society with the aim to subdue a nation that continues to resist the occupation. Since 1967, over 850 000 Palestinians have been arrested by the Israeli occupying power, in one of the worst cases of mass arbitrary detention in contemporary history. Palestinians have been increasingly confronted in recent months to extra-judicial killings, including after arrest. Corpses of Palestinian martyrs continue to be detained as collective punishment against their families. Palestinian prisoners hold world records in longest periods of political detention, notably Karim Younes, Maher Younes, Nael Barghouthi (released after 32 years in prison before being re-arrested) and Fakhri Barghouthi (who was released), who all spent over 30 years in Israeli prisons.
All prisoners are arbitrarily arrested since they are prosecuted by illegal military courts that have a condemnation rate of over 99% and are thus instruments at the service of occupation not organs to ensure justice. These military courts have condemned children, human rights defenders, parliamentarians, militants, relatives of prisoners, journalists, academics, political leaders and figures, and simple citizens. Freedom of all Palestinian prisoners is a pre-condition for the freedom of the Palestinian people, and only freedom can lead to peace.
As we mark this day, we are forced yet again to present the numbers that can barely reflect the human cost of these illegal and criminal Israeli policies, as behind these numbers, there are shattered lives, great suffering, and an unbreakable will to achieve freedom.
On 17 April 2016
7000 prisoners in Israeli jails
6 members of Parliament: Marwan Barghouthi, Ahmed Saadat, Khalida Jarrar (first woman parliamentarian to be arrested), Hassan Youssef, Hatem Qufaisha, Mohammed Abu Teir. Marwan Barghouthi was the first Palestinian parliamentarian to be arrested. Since then around half of the members of the Palestinian Legislative Council were arrested one or several times by Israel, often under the so-called regime of “arbitrary detention”
30 prisoners since before the conclusion of the Oslo agreements in 1994
400 children. Children have been increasingly targeted by arrest, and thousands have experienced detention in recent years.
750 “administrative detainees”, i.e. without charges
700 sick prisoners