Palestinian Prisoner’s Day: How many are still in Israeli detention?

Why are thousands of Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons without charge?

Palestinians in Israel protest outside the Megiddo Prison in northern Israel on 22  August 2021, to demand the release of prisoners from their community jailed following clashes with Jewish Israelis in May 2021

Al Jazeera explains on 17 April 2024:

Every year, April 17 marks Palestinian Prisoner’s Day, a day dedicated to the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Campaigners use the day to call for the human rights of such prisoners to be upheld and for those who have been detained without charge to be released.

On Monday, Israel released 150 Palestinian prisoners detained during the war in the Gaza Strip. These prisoners, including two Palestine Red Crescent Society workers, said they suffered abuse during their 50 days in Israeli prison, according to a report by the Reuters news agency.

Here’s more about Palestinian Prisoner’s Day and the situation of the prisoners in Israel.

What is Palestinian Prisoner’s Day?
The Palestinian National Council chose April 17 as Palestinian Prisoner’s Day in 1974 because it was the date that Mahmoud Bakr Hijazi was released in the first prisoner exchange between Israel and Palestine in 1971.  Hijazi, who had been serving a 30-year prison sentence on charges of trying to blow up the Nehusha Water Institute in central Israel in 1965, was released by Israel in exchange for a 59-year-old Israeli guard named Shmuel Rozenvasser.

Palestinians in Israel prisons, April 2024

How many Palestinians are in Israeli prisons and how are they treated?
In the occupied Palestinian territories, one in every five Palestinians has been arrested and charged at some point. This rate is twice as high for Palestinian men as it is for women – two in every five men have been arrested and charged.

There are 19 prisons in Israel and one inside the occupied West Bank that hold Palestinian prisoners. Israel stopped allowing independent humanitarian organisations to visit Israeli prisons in October, so it is hard to know the numbers and conditions of people being held there.

As of Tuesday, about 9,500 Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank were in Israeli captivity, according to estimates from Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, a rights group based in the West Bank city of Ramallah that supports Palestinian prisoners. The organisation works with human rights groups and families of prisoners to gather information about the situation of the prisoners.

Palestinian prisoners who have been released have reported being beaten and humiliated before and after the start of the war on Gaza on October 7.

How many Palestinian prisoners are being held without charge?
About 3,660 Palestinians being held in Israel are under administrative detention, according to Addameer. An administrative detainee is someone held in prison without charge or trial.  Neither the administrative detainees, who include women and children, nor their lawyers are allowed to see the “secret evidence” that Israeli forces say form the basis for their arrests.

More ….

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