Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Israel limits Palestinian prisoners to one book each

Date: 06 / 04 / 2009 Time: 20:21

Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are now allowed just one book each, down from a limit of eight, Palestinian officials have learned.

According to the Ministry of Prisoner’s Affairs in the de facto government in Gaza, the limitations on reading matter are part of the Israeli government’s pressure tactics adopted in an attempt to speed negotiations toward a prisoner swap with Hamas.

The director of the information department in the ministry, Riyad Al-Ashkar, female detainees are allowed to have two books if they are sent to the prison by Palestinians’ families.

Riyad Al-Ashkar said that Israeli prison administrators had rejected prisoners’ requests to have libraries inside the prisons.

The Israeli government decided last month to strip Palestinian prisoners of certain rights in an effort to hasten the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held by Palestinians in Gaza since 2006. Prisoners now have limited access to Arabic-language media, family visits, and educational opportunities, among other services.