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MK: Israel discriminates against Palestinian citizens in jail

Nov. 23, 2011 1:48 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 24, 2011 9:49 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Knesset member Ibrahim Sarsour on Wednesday said Israel discriminated against citizens of Palestinian origin in jail.

Sarsour said Palestinian citizens of Israel were not given the same rights as other citizens in jail, yet they were usually excluded from prisoner swap agreements because Israel considered them a domestic matter.

He pointed out that prior to the captive exchange between Hamas and Israel in October, Palestinian citizens of Israel had been excluded from every prisoner swap deal since 1985.

Sarsour's comments were made during a meeting at the Ministry of Detainee Affairs in Ramallah. A delegation of prisoners released in the October 18. swap deal also attended the meeting, a ministry statement said.

The MK thanked the Palestinian Authority on behalf of Palestinians in Israel for the government's efforts for political prisoners.

He urged the PA to try and secure the release of jailed Palestinian citizens of Israel in the next stage of the prisoner swap deal. Israel released 477 detainees in October, and under the terms of its deal with Hamas, Israel will release an additional 550 prisoners.

PA Minister of Detainee Affairs Issa Qaraqe said imprisoned Palestinian citizens of Israel were an essential part of the Palestinian community and national movement and pledged that the PA would try to release detainees "without biases."

Qaraqe noted that the Israeli government had released many Jewish prisoners who had committed crimes and massacres against Palestinian civilians.

The minister said 15 Palestinian citizens of Israel were sentenced to over 20 years in prison. He added that three female Palestinian citizens of Israel were also in prison.
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