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Some 300 rights groups, civil organizations demand immediate release of Palestinian prisoners

Some 300 human rights groups and civil organizations have denounced the continued detention of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, and called for their immediate release.

Nearly 300 human rights groups and civil organizations have denounced the continued detention of thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and the Tel Aviv regime’s contentious policy of "administrative detention" that means incarceration without charge or trial.

The 292 human rights organizations and civil institutions, in a joint statement, said the Palestinian inmates include 32 women and girls, about 180 minors under the age of 18, as well as 780 administrative detainees – among them two women and four children.

Moreover, there are 600 prisoners suffering from various diseases, of whom 22 have cancer. A total of 549 Palestinian prisoners have also been once or several times sentenced to life imprisonment.

The organizations went on to urge international bodies, particularly the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, to “pressure the occupying and apartheid Israeli regime to stop the exercise of administrative detention against Palestinians.”

The statement highlighted that Israel is holding about 780 Palestinian detainees without charge or trial, and Israeli authorities have issued nearly 1,350 administrative detention orders against Palestinians since the beginning of the current year.

The organizations also called for an immediate end to “the outdated colonial-era emergency law, and demanded a concerted international campaign in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in general and administrative detainees in particular."

They noted that dozens of prisoners have gone on hunger strikers since September 25 in protest against the administrative detention policy, and in defense of more than 700 Palestinian inmates who are jailed under administrative detention.

The statement underlined that the continued detention of Palestinian prisoners constitutes a grave violation of international humanitarian law, especially the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war and detainees, and is a war crime according to Article 85, Paragraph 5 of Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, and in accordance with Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The organizations also stated that Palestinian prisoners are subjected to physical and psychological torture, cruel and inhuman treatment and punishment, as well as flagrant violation of international human rights principles, especially the Convention against Torture (1984-1987), and the standards adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

They went on to condemn the Israeli regime’s policy of medical neglect against Palestinian prisoners, solitary confinement in cells that lack the slightest decent conditions, deprivation of prisoners’ families of visits, and systematic abuse and torture of male and female prisoners.

The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) keeps Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions lacking proper hygienic standards. The prisoners have also been subjected to systematic torture, harassment and repression all through the years of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

According to the Palestine Detainees Studies Center, about 60% of the Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails suffer from chronic diseases, a number of whom died in detention or after being released due to the severity of their cases.

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