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Tibi visits Barghouti in prison, calls for his release
By LAHAV HARKOV
10/30/2011
UAL-Ta'al MK says Fatah-Tanzim leader is "part of Palestinian struggle, should be a part of leadership, instead of sitting behind bars."
 
MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) visited Fatah-Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti at the Hadarim Detention Center in Even Yehuda on Sunday and called for his release from prison.

“Barghouti is part of the Palestinian struggle, and should be a part of the leadership, instead of sitting behind bars,” Tibi said.

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The MK also demanded the release of Karim Yunis, who has been in an Israeli prison for 29 years, longer than any other Palestinian. Yunis, born in 1958 in Ara, is Israeli. He was sentenced to death (commuted to life imprisonment) in 1983 for the murder of soldier Avi Bromberg three years earlier.

Tibi reported that Barghouti said his morale is still high and “our nation will not surrender to the occupation.” The Fatah leader also called for Palestinian unity, and said freeing prisoners should be a top priority.

Barghouti and Yunis both complained to Tibi that sanctions on Palestinian prisoners, which were supposed to end once soldier Gilad Schalit was released from Hamas captivity, are still in place. Starting in late June, the government limited benefits and privileges of Hamas terrorists in Israeli jails, including visitation rights, collegelevel studies and meat on the prison menu.

According to Tibi, Yunis also lamented the fact that veteran prisoners were not released before others in the Schalit prisoner exchange, especially those with Israeli citizenship. In addition, he told Tibi that Jews who killed Arabs received preferential treatment in jail.

Last week, MK Amir Peretz (Labor) also called for Barghouti, 52, who is serving five life sentences for five murders and 40 years imprisonment for an attempted murder, to be released from prison. He explained that Barghouti would help the Palestinian Authority uphold a peace treaty with Israel.

The Labor MK, who has visited Barghouti several times since he resigned from his role as defense minister in 2007, said that “today, the Palestinian leadership needs diplomats and statesmen, such as [President Mahmoud] Abbas, but they also need people like Barghouti, a brave man who has grassroots support on the Palestinian street.”
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