15 June 2016
The Israeli occupation authorities prohibited, yesterday, a French delegation of 16 Mayors of French cities from visiting Marwan Barghouti in Israeli Galbou’ (Gilboa) prison. The Mayors are part of the Barghouthi network composed of 23 French municipalities which granted Marwan Barghouthi honorary citizenship, replicating a similar decision taken by French and other cities around the world to grant Mandela honorary citizenship in support of the anti-Apartheid struggle. The Israeli prison’s administration denied the visit of the French delegation which decided to demonstrate in front of the prison its support to the freedom of Marwan and all Palestinian prisoners.
The lawyer Fadwa Barghouti, Marwan Barghouthi’s wife, stated “This delegation carries a powerful message of support and solidarity to the cause of freedom, and this message will reach Marwan, the prisoners and the Palestinian people whatever measures the Israeli occupation undertakes to prevent that”.
Marwan Barghouthi, the first Palestinian parliamentarian to be arrested and prominent political leader, has spent over two decades in Israeli jails, including the last 14 years. Many states and international figures, the European Parliament and the Inter-Parliamentary Union have called repeatedly for his release.
On the 27th of October 2013, an International Campaign for the freedom of Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian Prisoners was launched from Mandela’s cell on Robben Island by Fadwa Barghouthi anti-Apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada, who launched the Free Mandela campaign before spending 26 years in Apartheid jails. Since then, the Campaign and its founding text, the Robben Island Declaration, received the support of 8 Nobel peace prize Laureates (Jimmy Carter, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, José Ramos Horta, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire, Jody Williams, Sherin Ebadi, Rigoberta Menchú Tum), 115 Governments around the world, 15 former Heads of States and Governments, hundreds of parliamentarians, artists, intellectuals, academics, and thousands of citizens, making it the biggest international campaign in the history of the Palestinian struggle.
The campaign culminated with the nomination of Marwan for the Nobel Peace Prize by Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Adolfo Perez Esquivel and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, by leading Belgian Parliamentarians, the Arab Parliament, the Chair of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Speaker of the Palestinian National Council.
The Mayoral delegation will hold a press Conference tomorrow at the Government Press Center in Ramallah at 11h30 together with Issa Qaraqe’, Chair of the PLO Commission for Detainees and ex-Detainees, and Qaddura Fares, Chair of the Prisoners’ Society.