Sunday, April 26, 2009

IOA deprives one third of Palestinian prisoners of family visits

[ 26/04/2009 - 10:23 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation authority is depriving more than one third of the Palestinian prisoners in its jails from family visits, the PA ministry of prisoners affairs in Gaza said on Saturday.

Riyadh Al-Ashqar, the ministry's spokesman, said in a statement that the IOA had informed the Red Cross, which is responsible for following up visits to those prisoners, that family visits to prisoners of the Negev and Ofer jails were not allowed and did not specify a date for their resumption.

He said that the two prisons include more than 3,000 Palestinian prisoners while another 1,000 Gaza prisoners have been already deprived of those visits for more than two years, which makes more than one third of the Palestinian prisoners in IOA jails deprived of family visitation.

The IOA is seeking to double the suffering of Palestinian prisoners with all means possible, Ashqar charged, adding that the IOA was heading towards "legalizing visit deprivation".

He said that the international humanitarian law allows regular visits for families of prisoners while the IOA "oppressive courts" issue rulings to the contrary. He noted that members of the Israeli parliament had repeatedly called for depriving Palestinian prisoners from family visits at the pretext that they were affiliated with "terrorist organizations".

The spokesman, however, said that the "cruel" measures against those prisoners would not weaken their determination and resoluteness and would not succeed in persuading resistance factions capturing the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to lower their demands.

Ashqar appealed to the international concerned institutions to expose the IOA policy of stripping prisoners of their internationally guaranteed rights.