The European Network to support the Rights of Palestinian Prisoners (UFree) has welcomed the release of 13 Palestinians from Egyptian prisons. The network praised the Supreme Council of the Egyptian armed forces and the Egyptian government for the decision which brings to an end to the suffering of the prisoners and their families. UFree called for the release of all Palestinian detainees still being held in Egypt.
The Director of the European Network, Mohammad Hamdan, said in a statement: “We congratulate the Egyptians for this positive step, which strengthens the relationship between Palestine and Egypt on the road to achieving stability and security.” He added that UFree was the first group to raise the issue of Palestinian prisoners with the Egyptian government, resulting in the release of the first group of 12 prisoners after communication through a delegation of European Parliamentarians; the latter supported the network’s demands for the prisoners to be released by visiting Egypt and discussing the issue with the Supreme Council and the Egyptian government. The information passed over included a detailed list of the names of Palestinians detained and the prisons in which they were being held in Al-Aqrab, Burj Al-Arab, Al-Hadra and Al-Qanater.
UFree also called upon the Egyptian leadership to adopt new policies to protect the dignity of Palestinians staying in or passing through Egypt and to help to bring about an end to the siege of Gaza. According to Mr. Hamdan, the Palestinians appreciate Egyptian statements of solidarity with their cause and the desire to end the collective punishment of the people of Gaza by the Israeli-led siege.
The Norwegian-based UFree noted that with this mass prisoner release there are now only 19 Palestinians in Egyptian custody. It confirmed that the network will continue its efforts alongside other legal and human rights organisations to facilitate their release and thus the “closure of the arrests file permanently”.