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Imprisoned Fatah leader placed in solitary confinement

April 2, 2012 9:50 A.M. (Updated: April 3, 2012 7:18 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti has been put in solitary confinement in an Israeli prison after he sent a statement calling for civil resistance last week.

Prisons Authority spokeswoman Sivan Weizman said Monday that as punishment for issuing the statement, Barghouti "has been placed in isolation for a week and denied visits and access to the inmates' canteen for a month."

Barghouti's lawyer Elias Sabbagh said that contrary to Israeli claims, the popular leader called for non-violent, rather than armed, resistance, "which all Palestinians agree on."

The prisoner's wife Fadwa said she had been due to visit her husband in two days.

Last Monday, Barghouti said in a statement that "the launch of large-scale popular resistance at this stage serves the cause of our people." He also said the prospect of ending Israeli occupation and achieving a state through negotiations was an illusion.

Marwan Barghouti, sentenced to life imprisonment in 2004 after being convicted of multiple lethal attacks against Israelis, is seen by many Palestinians as a possible future leader and was a driving force in the uprising they launched in 2000.

From prison, Barghouti's views continue to resonate with the Palestinian public. The 52-year-old leading member of Fatah enjoys support beyond his movement and across the spectrum of Palestinian factions.

Observers have speculated that Israel might at some point release Barghouti to strengthen the hold of the more secular Fatah movement on the Palestinian political scene and stem the popularity of Islamist Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

Reuters contributed to this report
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