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On Prisoners’ Day 2023, only half of Palestinians held by Israel have actually been convicted

Jerusalem24 – Palestinians commemorate National Palestinian Prisoners’ Day each 17 April. This year, there are over 4,900 Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israeli prisons.

The Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs announced today that the number includes 30 women, 160 minors, and over 1,000 prisoners held in arbitrary (administrative) detention, without charge or trial.

A further 1,400 are being held on remand while they are awaiting trial – meaning just under half of all Palestinian prisoners have either not been charged with, or not been convicted of a crime.

23 Palestinian prisoners have been held since before the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. The longest-serving Palestinian prisoner is currently Nael Al-Barghouthi, who has been locked up for 43 years.

Some 400 prisoners have spent over 20 years in Israeli prisons.

554 prisoners are serving multiple life terms. Abdallah Barghouthi is serving 67 life sentences.

Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, April 2023. [Credit: Addameer]

Medical neglect

According to the Commission, 700 Palestinian prisoners are ill including 24 which suffer from cancer, whom Israeli prison authorities refuse to provide efficient medical treatment to and neglect as a matter of policy.

Walid Daqqa, a Palestinian writer, activist, and political prisoner, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone marrow cancer in 2022 and has since then been in dire need of urgent medical attention.

Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Addameer said that Israeli prison authorities are “weaponizing medical neglect to wage a psychological war on Palestinians in prison – tantamount to torture under international law”. Addameer is calling for the immediate release of Daqqa and demanding he be provided “the prescribed treatment that Israel has denied him so far”.

Solidarity across borders

Protests and activities are traditionally held across Palestine and globally on 17 April to show support for prisoners and their families. Displays of solidarity were reported from Gaza, to London, to Vancouver.

Nadeen Alshaer

Alshaer is a Palestinian journalist, a Birzeit University graduate with a B.A. in TV and Radio Broadcasting Journalism. Alshaer has 6 years of experience in journalism. She currently works as a reporter, editor and presenter/producer for PBC-Palestine TV and Jerusalem24 radio. She’s a UN and Kelley School of Business alumna.

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