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Palestinians plan to globalise prisoner issue

As a result of increased Israeli violations of their rights, Palestinian prisoners are to globalise their issue, the director of the Prisoners' Study Center (PST) announced on Sunday.

Speaking during a discussion panel held in the Gaza Strip, Riyad Al-Ashqar said that the prisoners are looking at strategic steps which can be taken to support and defend their case. They are to demand the formation of an international fact-finding mission to investigate the death of Arafat Jaradat, the prisoner who died while in Israeli custody recently. According to Mr. Al-Ashqar, the prisoners are also working to bring about an end to solitary confinement.

He presented detailed statistics about the prisoners being held in Israeli jails; there are 4,800, including 2,070 with life sentences. Thirteen women are imprisoned by Israel along with 200 minors, some of them serving lengthy sentences.

On the medical front, Al-Ashqar told the panel that there are 1,200 prisoners suffering from cancer and diabetes. At least 26 others have been diagnosed with serious mental and physical disabilities.

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