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Haniyeh: World must act to free prisoners

Oct. 23, 2010 3:54 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 24, 2010 10:50 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Gaza government Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Saturday called on the international community to act on the issue of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

At a conference in Gaza City, the Hamas leader noted that every visitor to the Gaza Strip talked about captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit but ignored more than 8,000 Palestinian prisoners detained by Israel.

Haniyeh said there were no detention centers in Gaza for political prisoners and that there never would be. He appealed to Arab leaders, in particular Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, to release Palestinian prisoners detained in Arab countries for their political affiliation.

"It is shameful that political prisoners are held in Palestine and in Arab countries while we demand that Israel releases our prisoners," Haniyeh said.

The Gaza premier called on his government's Prisoners' Affairs Ministry to form a delegation of detainees' relatives to visit Arab and European countries as advocates for prisoners' rights at an international level. The delegation should include families of Palestinian detainees and those detained in other Arab countries, he said, adding that his government would fund all expenses for the tour.

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