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PA minister: Releasing prisoners key to peace

April 5, 2010 12:09 P.M. (Updated: April 7, 2010 9:58 A.M.)
Ramallah – Ma'an – Minister of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Issa Qaraqe said Sunday that a basic requirement for any serious peace process would be the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

This is the criterion to judge whether Palestinian society is free from the Israeli occupation, the Ramallah-based official insisted at the home of prisoner Nael Barghouthi, marking his 33rd year in Israeli custody.

Head of the Palestinian Prisoner's Society Qaddura Faris attended the news conference in the village of Kubar, northwest of Ramallah, along with Barghouthi's brother Omar and ex-detainee Ahmad Abu As-Sukkar.

Qaraqe described the detention of a large number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails for more than 20 years as disdaining the international community, which has failed to impose international law and to reach a just peace in the region.

"They allow Israel to behave as a state above human law," Qaraqe said.

For his part, Faris applauded Barghouthi for his prominent role as a Palestinian freedom fighter.

He also greeted prisoners' relatives and applauded their decision to boycott prison visits in April in protest of humiliating treatment at the detention facilities.

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