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Catherine Ashton Photo: EPA
Catherine Ashton Photo: EPA
 
 

EU calls for better conditions for Palestinians prisoners

Ashton says she's 'following with concern' the deteriorating health of four inmates on hunger strike; calls Israel to restore their family visiting rights

Reuters
Published: 02.16.13, 19:54 / Israel News

The European Union on Saturday called on Israel to improve conditions for Palestinians in its jails, and a Palestinian minister said there would be rallies next week to support hunger striking prisoners.

 

Nearly 5,000 Palestinians are held in Israeli jails, many charged with involvement in terror attacks on Israelis.

 

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EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement that she is "following with concern" the deteriorating health of four Palestinian inmates who are staging long-term hunger strikes in protest of their detention.

 

"The EU calls on the government of Israel to allow for the immediate restoration of their family visiting rights and calls for the full respect of international human rights obligations towards all Palestinian detainees and prisoners," she said.

 

A spokeswoman for Israel's Prisons Service said the four prisoners were in "good condition" and receiving medical treatment as needed, but they had lost the right to family visits when they began their protests.

 

Issa Qaraqea, minister for prisoner affairs in the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, said public demonstrations to show solidarity with the group would be held all next week.

 

On Friday, Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli soldiers at a rally outside an Israeli prison in the West Bank.

 

Of the prisoners listed by Ashton, Samer al-Issawi has been on hunger strike the longest, for 208 days, and has been treated a number of times in hospital.

 

Israel had released Issawi from jail in 2011 along with more than a 1,000 other prisoners as part of the Shalit prisoner swap deal. He was arrested again in January 2012, on the grounds he had violated conditions for his release by engaging in terrorist activity.

 

 

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