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Protesters demand release of prisoners in PA jails

July 15, 2012 7:29 P.M. (Updated: July 17, 2012 10:35 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Relatives of prisoners being held in Palestinian Authority jails protested outside intelligence headquarters in Bethlehem on Sunday to demand the release of their loved ones, a Ma'an correspondent said.

More than fifty people took part in the demonstration, demanding the release of relatives they say were detained for politically motivated reasons.

Demonstrators blocked the road with mattresses, banged on the door of the intelligence headquarters and held banners calling for the release of prisoners.

Some people threw stones at the building.

PA forces tried to separate protesters and attacked some of them, Hamas said in a statement.

The families of detainees will continue protesting until they have achieved their demands and see their family members released, it added.

Earlier, thirteen Palestinian students who have held a sit-in in Hebron University for over three weeks warned Sunday they would scale up their protest if the Palestinian Authority does not release three fellow students.

The group say the Palestinian Authority has detained fellow students based on their political affiliation. They are also asking the PA preventative security force to sign a written obligation not to pursue them over their political activities on campus.

In late June, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said five detainees from Hebron and another from Ramallah were on hunger strike to protest their continued detention in West Bank jails, despite court rulings requiring the PA to release them.

PCHR said they all had been detained on political grounds and accused of "harming national unity."

"Palestinian courts, including the Palestinian High Court of Justice, have issued rulings for the release of these particular detainees, as well as others that were previously arrested on the same grounds. However, the PA has not implemented the courts’ rulings," the rights group said
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