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Negev prisoners start hunger strike

Sept. 7, 2011 1:50 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 8, 2011 2:00 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Seventy Palestinian prisoners who resided in northern West Bank towns launched an open hunger strike Tuesday demanding to be transferred to prisons close to their hometowns.

A Fatah spokesman in Israel's Negev prison said the prisoners’ families are forced to cross multiple checkpoints and go through "intense and humiliating" security checks and travel for hours to reach their loved ones.

Ashraf Zakarna the 70 Palestinian prisoners in the Beersheva, Nafha, and Rimon prisons are determined to reach their goals in order to ease the burden on their relatives.

The prisoners have filed a petition to Israel's supreme court to transfer them to prisons in the north, however, the court rejected their request, according to Zakarna.

The prisoners considered the rejection part of the Israeli prime minister’s new restrictions to punish detainees in an effort to secure a swap deal in exchange for Israeli captive Gilad Shalit, he said.
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