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PA: Ignoring hunger strike a humanitarian disaster
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH AND YAAKOV LAPPIN
30/04/2012
Palestinian minister says if strike leads to prisoners' harm it would be a “curse in the face of international justice.”
 
Next week will see an explosion in Israeli prisons, where hundreds of Palestinian inmates have been on a hunger strike, Palestinian Authority Prisoners Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqi said on Sunday.

Qaraqi urged the UN General Assembly to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the case of the striking prisoners.

“The situation inside the Israeli prisons is very difficult,” he told a press conference in Ramallah. “This requires real and serious political and legal action.”

Qaraqi warned that if any of the prisoners are harmed as a result of the hunger strike, this would be a “curse in the face of international justice.”

The PA minister accused the government of seeking to inflict a “humanitarian disaster” on the prisoners by continuing to ignore their demands.

Next week, thousands of prisoners will join the hunger strike, and they will not stop until all their demands are met, he said.

The prisoners are demanding, among other things, an end to solitary confinement, administrative detentions and a series of punitive measures that were imposed by the government in response to the abduction of IDF tank gunner Gilad Schalit to the Gaza Strip.

In a letter smuggled out of one of the prisons, leaders of the striking inmates called for a one-day general strike in the Palestinian territories in solidarity with the prisoners.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Saadat, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was transferred to a hospital over the weekend after a serious deterioration in his health, his family and lawyer said on Sunday.

Saadat was moved to Ramle Prison hospital by the Prisons Service after joining the hunger strike that began on April 17, following two highprofile hunger strikes launched by Palestinian security prisoners that made international headlines.

Saadat is serving a 30-year sentence for his role in the assassination of tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001.

Some 50 security prisoners in recent days joined the 1,200 inmates who are on a hunger strike, according to the Prisons Service.

The inmates, convicted for a range of terrorist offensives, have been separated from the general population, though not from one another, a source from the Prisons Service confirmed last week.
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