Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Detainees ministry: Israel threatens 'mistreatment' in prisons

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinians in Israeli jails have been threatened with worsening prison conditions, beginning at the start of September, the Ministry of Detainees in Ramallah said Wednesday.

The Israeli Prison Administration informed Palestinian representatives in jail that "mistreatment" would begin at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, according to the PA ministry's description of a letter received from the prisoners.

Palestinian detainees minister Issa Qaraqe said Israel's prison authority told the detainees that a new set of procedures would be introduced to "exacerbate their miserable conditions."

The detainees said that they will confront the new procedures with a "strategic step in September," and appealed for support from local and international groups.

In June, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the prison service to toughen conditions for Palestinian detainees in an effort to pressure Hamas to release captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The measures were widely condemned by Palestinian officials and prompted hunger strikes by prisoners in protest against the changes.