Abbas says he'll raise prisoners issue in UN

PA president acknowledges any resolution will be blocked but says, "we need to raise our voice everywhere."

April 30, 2012 23:53
1 minute read.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas arrives in Tunisia

PA President Mahmoud Abbas arrives in Tunisia 370 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday said that the PA will bring the issue of Palestinians jailed by Israel to the United Nations.

Speaking during a visit to Tunisia, Abbas accused Israel of being in violation of agreements to free Palestinian prisoners and that authorities are not meeting the demands of thousands of hunger-strikers, official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

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"We made our decision to seek the United Nations to bring up the issue of prisoners," Abbas told the Tunisian Constituent Assembly, according to the report. However, he acknowledged that any such resolution would be blocked.

"Nonetheless, we need to raise our voice everywhere because the prisoners' issue cannot withstand delay," he added.

At least 1,200 Palestinian prisoners launched an open-ended hunger strike on April 17.

Besides solitary confinement, the hunger strikers are protesting administrative detention, restrictions on visits, strip searches of certain visitors and access to studying for academic degrees.

Several are at risk of dying, including Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahlah, both on their 64th day without food, their Palestinian lawyer said. Eight other detainees have been hospitalized.

The start of the strike last week coincided with the release of Khader Adnan, a prisoner who refused food for 66 days before agreeing to a deal under which he was freed. Adnan is a member of Islamic Jihad.

The striking prisoners said they would drink only water and salt until their demands are met.

The IPS has taken measures against some 1,200 Palestinian prisoners involved in the hunger strike, denying them family visits and separating them from inmates not taking part in the protest.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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