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Abbas meets freed prisoners from Bethlehem

Nov. 6, 2013 6:11 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 7, 2013 11:38 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) – President Mahmoud Abbas met Tuesday evening in his Bethlehem headquarters with veteran prisoners from Bethlehem who were freed last Tuesday.

Palestinian Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Qaraqe, who attended the meeting, told Ma'an that Abbas met with Issa Abed Rabbo, Riziq Salah, and Khalid al-Azraq, all of whom were freed in conjunction with peace negotiations between Israel and the PLO.

Abbas reiterated that ending the prisoners' suffering would remain a top priority to the Palestinian leadership, Qaraqe said.

Under any agreement with Israel, Abbas reportedly added, all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails from before the 1993 Oslo Accords would be freed without exception and no prisoner would be deported.

Additionally, Qaraqe noted, the PA is pressuring Israel to release sick Palestinian prisoners.

A prisoner, Hassan Turabi, died in a prison medical center Tuesday after suffering from leukemia and experiencing what the Ministry of Prisoner's affairs calls "systematic" medical negligence.

Turabi's death brings the death toll among Palestinian prisoners in Israel's custody to 205 since 1967.

There are 5,006 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including 137 administrative detainees, 12 women and 180 children, according to prisoners support group Addameer.
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