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Israel cancels family visits for Palestinians in two prisons

Aug. 24, 2009 6:58 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 25, 2009 1:53 P.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – The Israel Prison Service has decided to cancel family visits for Palestinian political prisoners at two jails on Tuesday after protesters threatened to stop the families.

In doing so, Israel is violating the Geneva conventions.

According to the Website of the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Israeli supporters of captured soldier Gilad Shalit planned to hold demonstrations at two prisons where so-called “security prisoners” are held.

The protesters, calling themselves an "Army of Shalit's Friends" planned the protests, calling for Israel to impose harsher sanctions on Palestinian prisoners in order to convince Hamas to release Shalit, who has been held by Palestinian fighters in Gaza since 2006. The protests were to coincide with Shalit’s 23rd birthday.

The Prison Service announced that family visits will be cancelled on Tuesday at Hadarim Prison in the town of Tel Mond and Shikma Prison in the city of Ashkelon, according to Yedioth. However, visits will be carried out as per usual at Megiddo Prison, where the Shalit campaign will also be protesting.

Israel holds 11,000 Palestinians in its jails. Since June 2007, Israel has denied the right to family visits to more than 900 detainees from Gaza. The International Committee of the Red Cross has pronounced this a violation of international humanitarian law.
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