Today marks Palestinian Prisoners’ Day: an occasion to reflect on the huge number of Palestinian people imprisoned by the Israeli state.
Since the beginning of the illegal occupation in 1967, the state of Israel has reportedly imprisoned over 800,000 Palestinians. During this time, 75 prisoners have been killed following detention, including 61 who died from medical negligence and 72 who died from torture. The United Nations Convention against Torture, ratified by Israel and which came into force in 1987, prohibits the use of torture against imprisoned persons.
As of March 2018, there are an estimated 6,500 Palestinians currently being held in Israeli prisons and detention centres; in the first few short months of this year alone, the Israeli state has imprisoned 1928 people, of which 396 are minors and 36 are women.
- 356 are children (every year, between 500 and 700 children are imprisoned and denied their right to a fair trial; and at least 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and detained by Israeli authorities since 2000);
- 62 women (8 of whom are female child prisoners);
- More than 400 administrative detainees; jailed without charge and/or a trial;
- 1,800 who require medical care (700 of whom suffer from serious and chronic conditions)
- 12 parliamentarians;
- And 28 journalists.
One of the most recent high-profile cases has been the closed military trial of 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi. Military courts operate outside the Isreali state justice system, have conviction rates of almost 100%, and see defendants, like Ahed, experience sexual harassment during interrogations.
This time last year, 1,500 Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails staged a 40-day hunger strike in protest at unfair and inhumane conditions in which they were being held.
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East and a member of the European Parliament’s Palestine Delegation, said:
“I join those across the world who are standing in solidarity to continue raising concerns over the Israeli state’s routine, illegal and inhumane detention of almost 20% of the Palestinian population; most prisoners’ only crime appears to have been resisting the illegal occupation of their homeland.”
“From the systematic imprisonment of children to the jailing of hundreds of Palestinian citizens without even the pretence of a trial or charge, today, we must come together to call on the international community to act in unity to condemn the immoral and illegal actions of the Isreali state and its flagrant disregard for justice and fundamental human rights.”
“As a Green MEP, I will keep pushing the EU to take a firm line with the state of Israel and demand that there is no opportunity missed to raise and condemn the state’s human rights abuses.”