Friday, September 18, 2009

Arrested for failure of prisoner exchange talks, Minister of Education returning from Israeli prison

18.09.09 - 12:01
Nablus / PNN – The Palestinian Minister of Education is being released from prison. He is not the first Palestinian official to be imprisoned by the Israeli government that has specifically targeted Legislative Council members.
“Where on the planet could you get away with arresting someone else’s members of Parliament,” asked a Palestinian Legislative Council member as his colleagues were being dragged off to Israeli prisons upon election.

Dr. Nasser Al Sha’er, in addition to being Education Minister, is also the Deputy Prime Minister. But these titles no longer necessarily apply in the mainstream Palestinian government in Ramallah where many positions have been replaced.
The 48 year old was elected in June 2006 on the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform Bloc. He has been held for six months by the Israeli government in Administrative Detention, meaning without charge or trial, in the prisons of Megiddo and Al Naqab.
Release procedures for Dr. Al Sha’er were hampered as the official was being transported from the Al Naqab Desert to a drop off point in the southern West Bank’s Hebron for Palestinians being released from Israeli prisons.
After a prison visit a few days ago, his lawyer told the International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights, “The prisoners in Israeli prisons live worse than in earlier stages where ill-treatment by the prison, the imposition of heavy fines and denial of family visits are commonplace. This is in addition to the punishment of solitary confinement.”
Dr. Al Sha’er has been arrested from his Nablus home four times. Most recently it was in mid-March that he and a number of other Hamas officials and deputies in the PLC were arrested after the failure of talks to exchange prisoners for the captured Israeli soldier.