Friday, April 17, 2009

Radio Prison: studio designed to broadcast the voices of Palestinian political prisoners

13.04.09 - 13:16

PNN exclusive - Osama Al Azzeh, Kristen Ess – In an unprecedented act of resistance Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons began broadcasting the “Voice of Prisoners.”

This radio program will be a part of prison life in “all Israeli prisons and detention centers nationally,” say organizers.

Ra’fat Hamduna, Director of the Center for the Studies of Prisoners, says this is an “achievement of unprecedented initiative.” He explained on Monday that the broadcast is an exercise in the rights of the some 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners being held by the Israeli administration.

“The sound will act as letters in lieu of the visits which are being prevented for all of the detained Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and the hundreds from the West Bank who are prevented familial visits under the pretext of security and other flimsy excuses.”

Hamuda said “this is positive and meaningful, and challenges the Government of Israel to ratify [policies] that crush prisoners and detainees in prisons.”

He added, “Through the voice of the prisoners there will be a link between the prisoners and the ban of visits between their families. The “Voice of Prisoners” will expose the violations against them by the occupation state and will show that the violations are contrary to democracy, human rights and international conventions.”

Hamduna predicts that the radio broadcasts will also “add to the unity among the Palestinian people, particularly the issue of prisoners as an issue of national consensus that cannot be divided.”

The Palestinian political prisoners’ unions and rights organizations are behind the project, which Saleh Al Masri, Radio Manager, confirmed to PNN on Monday is the first of its kind. “We are new and are broadcasting 24 hours per day.”

The studio that is broadcasting the messages, sent via mobile, is in Gaza. “This is so people can hear the voices of their children. It reaches out to Jerusalem, Al Aqsa, the West Bank,” Al Masri told PNN this afternoon.

Islamic Jihad, the Director of Radio Jerusalem, Al Masri and Hamduna were among those who initiated the idea to broadcast to a wider audience.

Al Masri stressed, “Prisoners will discuss all of the concerns of prisoners, their security, their moral and political views, and the news of their relatives.”

Hamduna reiterated the words of hundreds of thousands: that the Israeli prisons are illegitimate and the laws unjust while contravening international conventions.

Rabah Marzuk, Engineer and Executive Director of Radio Al Quds, called on Arab and international institutions to support the radio to defend the humanitarian and national cause for a wide range of prisoners inside Israeli jails who will communicate with the radio studio broadcasting from Gaza.