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PA: Israel should reimburse tuition for prisoners

Aug. 6, 2011 3:04 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 7, 2011 2:20 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Authority ministry of prisoners affairs wants Israel to return tuition money paid by the PA to detained students who are no longer permitted to enroll in courses.

The prison service has frozen all the money allocated for tuition on behalf of detainees enrolled in the Open University, after the government decided to deprive Palestinian prisoners of education.

Of the 6,000 detainees in Israel, 280 are enrolled in Open University. Some would be graduating soon.

Prisoners minister Issa Qaraqe said Saturday that his ministry would appeal to Israel's High Court of Justice seeking to restore the money allocated for prisoners’ tuition.

In a separate matter, Hussein Ash-Sheikh, a Palestinian lawyer who works for the ministry, said Saturday that Israeli soldiers tried to rape a 13-year-old Palestinian at Etzion detention center.

The lawyer based his claim on what he heard from the teen’s brother, whom he identified as 26-year-old Ammar Sa’di Jabir from Hebron in the southern West Bank.

He said Ammar was detained along with his brother Mahmoud, 13, from their home on July 25. He was taken to Kiryat Arba detention center where the soldiers beat him on the face and body before transferring him to Etzion.

Ash-Sheikh said he noticed during a visit that “Ammar’s body had bruises and swelling, and he lost some teeth.”

He added that Mahmoud was also beaten and soldiers took him to a deserted room and tried to rape him. When he saw the soldiers, Ammar added, he hurried to defend his brother and clashed with them.

Ammar was then accused of attacking soldiers, Ash-Sheikh said.

In another incident, Ash-Sheikh said Yousif Abdul-Aziz, 27, a prisoner from Jenin, filed a complaint against an Israeli warden accusing the official of taking inappropriate photos of him.

The photos were taken at Megeddo prison while he was being strip-searched, Ash-Sheikh said.

Officials at Israel's prison service could not immediately be reached for comment.

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