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Week 20: Hani Jaber Palestinian political prisoner

Hani Jaber has spent the majority of his life in prison. His is the story of a hero who knows the bitterness of pain and suffers the pain of illness and torture. He longs to see his wife and only daughter beyond the prison walls, and has never stopped hoping for release. He continues to fight humiliation and illness behind bars, and is currently trying to fight the Israeli decision to strip him of his identity.

The story of his arrest

Hani Badawi Mohammed Said Jabir was born on 7/23/1964 and was arrested at his home in Hebron on 09/03/1985. He was cruelly tortured before being taken before an Israeli military court and handed an actual life sentence. Forces of the Israeli occupation then demolished his family home in the Wade Gharw area of Hebron, forcing the family to move into the Old City of Jerusalem where they continue to live to this day. Jabir was arrested when he was 21 years old, by which time he was already married and his wife was seven months pregnant. A few months after his arrest, she gave birth to a baby girl whom he named Fida’a meaning redemption and who has been deprived of his affection all her life. She dreams of seeing her father’s face without any bars; of embracing him without military escort or electronic surveillance; and of enjoying his affection after being deprived of it for twenty five years. Fida’a has completely grown up in his absence; she is now married and moved to her husband’s house in Jerusalem almost 7 years ago, all without her father being able to share her joy except for a few words.

Stories of suffering

Jaber has lived through significant suffering during his life inside prison; he developed a stomach ulcer as well as rheumatism in the bones of his feet, on account of the occupation. He was given very strong mouth wash for the gums, which he swallowed by accident resulting in his illness. The prisons administration typically did not give him any treatment despite his worsening medical condition, until he was no longer able to exercise or even run and experienced heart burn whenever he tried to do so. The prisoner says: “despite my signing of the documents needed for my follow up treatment, I didn’t find any change. In addition, the prison administration enjoys practicing its policy of medical neglect, not paying attention to our suffering, and the consequences of that policy on our health and lives”. Not only did the occupation torture Jaber in terms of his health, but it actually doubled his punishment, when for no apparent reason, the Ministry of Civil Affairs informed him that his Jerusalemite citizenship had been withdrawn. He is originally a citizen of Jerusalem, and has a Jerusalem ID card, but lost his citizenship to the city when he carried out his operation and was arrested in 1985. When he demanded his ID card, they refused to give it to him as he had been given a life sentence and they also denied him his residency and refuse to grant it back to him.

Palestinian Prisoners
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