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Minister: Israeli authorities refuse hunger strike demands

Oct. 4, 2011 2:19 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 8, 2011 8:18 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israel's prison administration has refused Palestinian detainees' demands as prisoners enter their eighth day on hunger strike, the minister of detainees' affairs in Ramallah said Tuesday.

Issa Qaraqe said a meeting between prisoner representatives, the assistant general director of prisons and Israeli intelligence officers in Ramon prison failed to yield any results.

Prisoner representative Jamal al-Rojoub said Israeli officials called on detainees to end the hunger strike and said they would respond to the detainees' list of demands within one week.

Detainees' demands include an end to solitary confinement and collective punishment, fines and what they say are provocative cell raids, as well as better medical care and to be allowed to take university courses.

They are also protesting against the practice of chaining their hands and legs during family visits and meetings with lawyers.

Thousands of people in the West Bank and Gaza staged demonstrations on Monday in solidarity with Palestinian detainees on hunger strike in Israeli jails.

Director of the Abu Jihad center for prisoners affairs at al-Quds university Fahd Abu al-Hajj said Sunday that 3,000 or so prisoners were taking part in the hunger strikes.

According to latest reports from the Palestinian Authority, 6,000 Palestinians are being detained in Israeli prisons, including 219 in Administrative Detention who are held without charge.
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