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Mothers of prisoners mark Eid in protest

Sept. 10, 2010 4:11 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 11, 2010 7:35 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A committee of mothers of Palestinian prisoners met Friday outside the headquarters of the Red Cross in Gaza City, protesting the continued incarceration of their sons and daughters.

The mothers read a letter to assembled protesters saying there was "no celebration of Eid without our loved ones in prison," explaining that families around the world were exchanging visits with each other while the mothers were forbidden from visiting their children.

For the past four years, the protesters continued, visits to loved ones have been prohibited, as access to prisons in Israel was impossible as the siege on Gaza continued.

Gaza mothers thanked the support of the Prisoners Studies Center, the National and Islamic Prisoners Commission, and all those who participated with them in the Eid Al-Fitr protest.

Estimates from the Palestinian Authority in March said some 7,000 Palestinian men and women were in Israeli prison, while more than 180,000 of the 4.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza had spent at least some time in Israeli custody. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said 10 percent of Palestinian men had been incarcerated by Israel at some point in their lives.

Factions in Gaza behind the 2006 capture of an Israeli soldier continue to bargain for the release of some 1,000 prisoners, in a swap deal that would see the captured soldier returned to his family.
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