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Islamic Jihad-affiliated prisoners planning protests over solitary confinement

March 6, 2016 10:21 A.M. (Updated: March 30, 2016 6:17 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Islamic Jihad-affiliated detainees held in Israeli prisons are preparing a series of protests in reaction to “a campaign waged by Israeli prison services against prisoners in solitary confinement,” the group announced on Sunday.

In a statement received by Ma’an, leaders of the Islamic Jihad-affiliated prisoners said protests would start in April.

The statement noted that at least 16 prisoners are currently held in solitary confinement including Islamic Jihad-affiliated prisoner Nahar al-Saadi, who has been in Israeli custody since 2003.

Al-Saadi was handed four life sentences and an additional 20-year sentence by an Israeli court, after being accused of driving a Palestinian woman who blew herself up in the city of Affula in 2003, killing four Israelis and injuring dozens.

Al-Saadi has been held in solitary confinement since May 21, 2013.

He launched hunger strike in November 2014 after he was deprived of family visits. He ended the strike after 28 days after Israeli prison services pledged to allow his mother to visit him in April 2015.

However, instead of a visit, al-Saadi was only allowed to talk to his mother on the phone.

According to prisoners’ rights NGO Addameer, at least 7,000 Palestinian were being held in Israeli prisons as of February, including 503 serving life sentences.

Rights groups have long criticized Israel for mistreatment of Palestinians in Israeli jails, as well as the illegality of their imprisonment. Addameer has documented extensive use of both solitary confinement and isolation by Israel's prison service, under circumstances the group says are violations of international law.

Many Palestinian prisoners also face torture, denial of family visitation, and medical negligence.

On Thursday, at least 46 Palestinian prisoners began an open hunger strike in the Etzion prison to demand better living conditions.

Prisoners at Etzion jail said they are also protesting the quality and quantity of food served to them, in addition to filthy living spaces, inadequate medical treatment and lack of regular access to showers.
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