Monday, April 18, 2011

Hamas: Prisoners to be free if more soldiers captured

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas lawmaker Ahmad Bahar on Sunday urged Palestinian factions to form militant groups with the aim of capturing Israeli soldiers.

The deputized Palestinian Legislative Council speaker said kidnapping soldiers would pressure Israeli authorities to release Palestinian political prisoners. He made the remarks in a speech commemorating Palestinian Prisoners' Day in Gaza City.

Bahar urged the captors of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to insist on their demands for a swap deal to release Palestinian detainees. Shalit was seized in a cross-border raid in June 2006. Negotiations to secure his release have so far failed.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Palestine Maxwell Gaylord on Sunday urged Israel to comply with international human rights law in its treatment of Palestinian prisoners, particularly women and children in Israeli jails.

In a statement from his office to mark Prisoners' Day, Gaylord noted that the practice of detaining Palestinians in Israel was contrary to the Geneva Conventions.

"Israel's policies and practices regarding Palestinian prisoners raise a number of concerns, including a lack of clarity on the legal status of such prisoners, the location and conditions of their incarceration, the need for access to legal counsel and representation, the issue of administrative detention, and the prevention of family visits for detainees from Gaza," the statement said.