Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council representing Fatah and Hamas, Sharaf Juma'a and Ismail Al-Ashqar respectively, made a visit to Gaza Central Prison on Monday evening (10.01.2011) where they met with inmates who confirmed that they were not being detained on political grounds and that they were not on hunger strike.
The visit came in response to an invitation from Gaza's Interior Ministry following Jumaa's statement on Sunday which claimed that there were prisoners from Fatah on a hunger strike.
Jama'a and Al-Ashqar toured the prison and visited the rooms of prisoners, including Fatah members in Gaza, held for committing crimes and security breaches.
They two MPs also met and listened to some of the prisoners who spoke to them about their lives inside the Reformation and Rehabilitation Centre where they are being held. They clarified that rumours about a hunger strike among inmates were not true, including those regarding the six Fatah members that Fatah described as "political detainees" and claimed they were on a hunger strike.
Last week witnessed a number of visits to the Gaza Central Prison by several human rights organisations; they included the Addameer Organisation for Human Rights and the Mizan Centre, in addition to the Red Crescent and independent and specialised institutions and figures. They all affirmed that Fatah claims to media outlets about hunger strikes in the prison were not true.
The Hamas MP, Ismail Al-Ashqar, expressed his hope that Fatah members of the Palestinians Legislative Council take similar steps and allow Hamas MPs to visit Hamas political detainees held in prisons in the West Bank.
The Palestinian government in Gaza had reiterated that there were no political prisoners in its jails; "We challenge MP Juma'a to announce the name of a single prisoner that was arrested on political grounds", they said.
Juma'a had claimed that there were 28 Fatah political prisoners on hunger strike in Hamas' jails in Gaza.