Ahrar Centre for Prisoners' Studies and Human Rights has demanded the release of Palestinian MPs and ministers being held in Israeli jails. The Centre called upon the Secretaries General of the League of Arab States and the Federation of Arab Parliamentarians for urgent action to get their Palestinian colleagues released, as most are detained without charge or trial in violation of international laws and conventions. There are 14 elected Palestinian legislators being held currently by Israel, and three ministers.
According to the Director of Ahrar, Fuad Khuffash, "The number of MPs in detention may fluctuate, but it has just risen to 14 with the arrest of Yasir Mansour from Nablus on Sunday evening, and 5 other MPs at dawn last Friday." The five have been identified as the Secretary of the Legislative Council, Dr. Mahmoud Ramahi from Ramallah; Fathi Qaraawi and Riad Raddad from Tulkarem; Imad Nofal from Qalqilya; and Bassem Zarir from Hebron.
Ahrar Centre monitors Israeli arrests and has pointed out that three of the MPs in prison are serving long sentences handed down by the Supreme Court. They are Fatah representatives Marwan Barghouti and Jamal Tirawi, and Ahmad Saadat, the leader of the Popular Front. The other 5 in detention are all linked to Hamas: Mohammed Jamal Natshe and Nayef Rajoub from Hebron; Hasan Yousef and Ahmed Mubarak from Ramallah; and Mohammed Totah from Jerusalem.
Mr Khuffash explained that the three ministers being held by Israel have all held ministerial posts in governments ratified by the Palestinian Legislative Council. They are Wasfi Kabha, Issa Al-Jabari and Khaled Abu Arafa.
"The representatives of the Palestinian Legislative Council are targeted by the Israelis," said Khuffash. "Since their victory in the last elections in 2006 they have been subjected to a fierce arrest campaign which has seen 51 detained at one time or another."