Monday, May 4, 2009

Longest standing Palestinian political prisoner Na’el Barghouthi passes another year

04.05.09 - 10:29

Gaza / PNN - Researcher and expert on prisoners’ affairs Abdel Nasser Ferwana said today the number of Palestinians held since before Oslo is 327.

Concurrent with the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, the signing of the Oslo Accords was expected to bring with it a release of political prisoners from Israeli prisons. Instead over 300 people are in their fifteenth year.

Na’el Barghouthi from Ramallah has been imprisoned far longer. Israeli forces took the longest-standing political prisoner into the prison system in 1978. From the fourth of April of that year Barghouthi has been detained for 31 years.

Ferwana noted that 130 Palestinians from the West Bank have been in Israeli prison for at least 15 years, along with 129 from the Gaza Strip, 45 from Jerusalem and 20 from within Israeli boundaries. Three Arabs are imprisoned from the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

For duration of imprisonment, there are others who have been in since 1981. Sami Younis was taken in January of 1983 while a resident of the Golan has been in since the summer of 1985.

Ferwana said Monday that there are 96 Palestinians who were arrested more than 20 years ago. Abdel Razek Zlom of Ramallah joined them yesterday. He explained that the long-standing political prisoners were supposed to be released since the Sharm el-Sheikh meetings of September 1999. The agreement struck in the Egyptian resort town included clear and explicit guarantees of freedom.

The Israeli government was to release Palestinian prisoners who committed infractions of Israeli law before 13 September 1993 and who were arrested before 4 May 1994; that is prior to the Declaration of Principles and the Palestinian Authority.