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Palestine

AMP congratulates released prisoners and their families; remembers those still incarcerated

English: Sumayya and her cat in front of her f...

English: Sumayya and her cat in front of her family’s demolished home in Balatah refugee camp , 2002, Second Intifada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

AMP congratulates released prisoners and their families; remembers those still incarcerated

(CHICAGO 10/29/2013) – The American Muslims for Palestine, a national education and advocacy organization, today congratulates the 26 Palestinians who were released from Israeli incarceration after being held for decades as political prisoners. At the same time we remember the thousands still being held in contravention on international law and vow we will not tire until every last Palestinian is free from occupation and until all Palestinian refugees can return to their homeland.

As of Sept. 1, 5007 Palestinians – including 180 children, 12 women and 13 duly elected members of the Palestinian Parliament – were imprisoned. Since then, two more parliamentarians have been detained. Of the total, 136 Palestinians were being held without due process, charge or trial.

While we hail the release of these 26 individuals, AMP recognizes the occupation mechanisms are still in place that allow for the random arrest and detention of Palestinians, some as young as 5 years old. Multiple reports by credible human rights organizations have documented that Israeli Occupation Forces often arrest children from their beds in the middle of the night, transport them to detention centers and interrogate them without the presence of their parents or legal counsel. Torture, sexual abuse and threats against family members are often tools employed to garner confessions spelled out in Hebrew, a language many children do not understand. Lack of access to quality medical care, education, fresh air and family visits are other tactics employed against the political prisoners, all of which are in violation of international law.

To protest the deplorable conditions and human rights abuses in Israeli prisons, prisoners have launched several hunger strikes over the past few years. Kader Adnan, Mahmoud Sarsak, Samer Issawi and Hanaa Shalabi are the names of a just a few who endured months of starvation in hopes of pressuring Israel to conform to international law. In the spring of 2012, nearly half of the Palestinian political prisoner population, some 2,000 people, staged a hunger strike as well. Currently Jordanian citizen Alaa Hammad is in his 180th day of a hunger strike to protest the conditions five Jordanians are enduring – including no family visits for more than 13 years, according to prisoner rights groups.

AMP calls upon President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and members of Congress to uphold the American values of due process and basic human rights to force Israel to comply with international law and release all political prisoners. Allowing Israel with impunity to imprison Palestinians illegally weakens the United States’ moral standing in the world and tarnishes our insistent call that all countries must observe and meet universally accepted standards of human rights.

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About Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist. Named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" for 2006/07 by the New America Media. He is the recipient of four Lisagor Awards from the Chicago Headline Club and the 2009 Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Visit his website at www.TheDailyHookah.com. Find his podcasts on iTunes and on Vimeo.

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