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Relatives of Fatah supporters jailed by Hamas demonstrate in Gaza

Feb. 6, 2017 4:46 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 6, 2017 4:46 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Relatives of Fatah movement supporters jailed by the Hamas-led security services in the Gaza Strip demonstrated on Monday outside the building of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza City.

Demonstrators told Ma'an that they wanted Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Legislative Council to intervene and get their relatives released "immediately."

“Our children should be honored and dignified rather than being jailed,” they said. 

The wife of Samer al-Nims, who has been sentenced to lifetime imprisonment, said that "these prisoners have been jailed only because they are affiliated to Fatah."

She explained that her husband was convicted by Hamas, the de facto ruling party in Gaza, of "harming revolutionary unity" in violation of Article 178 of the Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979.

Protests came as Fatah and Hamas officials met last month to discuss political reconciliation and the eventual formation of a unity government, with Fatah officials affirming that the internal Palestinian divisions “should end in a short time.”

Reports of reconciliation talks in past weeks have however come as Hamas and the PA have exchanged accusations of carrying out “politically motivated” arrests, and blamed each other for an electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip in January which left the majority of Palestinians there with only three hours of power a day for more than a week.

Meanwhile last month, a Gaza military court sentenced eight Palestinians affiliated to the Fatah party -- three of whom to life in prison -- for allegedly gathering information about Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza for intelligence forces of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Despite numerous attempts at reconciling the groups, Palestinian leadership has so far repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliation and holding of long-overdue elections, as both movements have frequently blamed each other for numerous political failures.
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