PNA urges Israel to drop controversial prisoners law

16:05, January 03, 2010      

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The Palestinian National Authority(PNA) on Saturday called on Israel to cancel a controversial law it uses to hold prisoners without a trial or keep them jailed after their terms were over.

The PNA "has raised this issue before international circles and human rights groups and resorted to the Israeli courts to drop the law but the results were fruitless," Eissa Qaraqe', Palestinian minister of prisoners affairs, told Xinhua.

This law "violates the Palestinian prisoners' rights and the human values," he added.

Israel has ratified the "illegal warrior law" in 2002 and applied it to Palestinians arrested in the Gaza Strip during its three-week military operation in the Hamas-controlled territory that ended on January 18, 2009.

Israel also used the law to keep two Lebanese prisoners until it gets information on the whereabouts of Ron Arad, a fighter pilot who went missing since his jet crashed over Lebanon in 1986.Later, in 2008, Israel freed the two hostages in a prisoner exchange deal with Hezbollah.

In 2007, Hamas seized control in Gaza after it routed security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas and a year after it had captured an Israeli soldier in a cross-border raid near the Gaza Strip. Since then, Israel deals with Gaza as a hostile entity.

According to Qaraqe', Israel still holds some Gazans without trial and refused to release others whose imprisonment terms were over.

"Those prisoners are deprived of getting any aid from rights organizations and their families are not allowed to visit them," he said.

During last winter offensive in Gaza, Israel arrested about 1,000 Palestinians, said Abdul Nasser Ferwana, a prisoner rights activist. He said Israel refuses to reveal too much information about those prisoners "and most of them might have been held under the illegal warrior law, or killed during the assault but Israel kept their bodies."

Source: Xinhua
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