Saturday, April 25, 2009

Center for Prisoners' Studies reports on Gaza family denied prison visits, mother hasn't seen baby

25.04.09 - 12:59

Nablus / PNN – Eight children have not seen their mother in two years. The ninth was born in Israeli prison. Mother Fatma Azzak has not been able see him since his birth 15 months ago.

Over the phone from Tel Mond Prison 40 year old Azzak says she only knows her last child through photos. “What hurts me so much also is my son six year old son Suleiman. He was just four when I was put in prison, the age when he needs so much care and tenderness,” she tells her husband.

Mahmoud Azzak told the Center for Prisoners’ Studies that his wife being away is incredibly difficult.
Three times in seven months they were allowed telephone contact.

The Israeli prison administration has banned all visits for residents of the Gaza Strip, including the Azzak family, for over 20 months.

Husband Mahmoud says, “We are trying to rely on ourselves after the arrest, but I won’t hide from you that this is really hard. A major vacuum was left.” The Center for Prisoners’ Studies notes that the consequences are severe for the entire family.

Fatma Azzak said via telephone, “We’re calling the cries of distress to no avail. The prison administration banned all visits we thought letters would be a means of communication. Although we have sent dozens of letters through the Red Cross, they have not reached either of us. We are living in isolation here, just as the Gaza Strip is isolated.”

Ra’fat Hamduna, Director of the Center for Prisoners’ Studies, said that the issue of Palestinian political prisoners requires legal action against the Israeli authorities. It is the only possible means of obtaining a visit for the Azzak family, he said.

“Pressure must be put on the occupying state to free the captive and her child, and to ensure the needs of prisoners in general, including clothing, because the prevention of visits and communications is prohibited.”

Several hundred Palestinian women are among the 11,000 political prisoners currently being held by Israeli forces.