One hundred prisoners in Gaza have been released by Hamas as a sign of goodwill at the start of the month of Ramadan. The order for the release was given by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
Those released, said the Minister of Justice, Mohamed Faraj al-Ghoul, in a joint news conference with Interior Minister Fathi Hammad, "Were approved by the Council of Ministers because they had received certificates of good conduct". All had "vowed not to return to crime," he added. The release highlights the success of prison rehabilitation centres across the Gaza Strip.
There has been a renewed emphasis in Gaza on having prisons emptied of political prisoners. Hamas called upon the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah to release political prisoners held in its jails as a gesture of good faith towards national reconciliation for the sake of the Palestinian cause. Minister Hammad went on to state that there had been a number of inmates released who, although members of the Fatah movement, had not been arrested for political reasons but for criminal activities that endangered the security of Palestinians within the Gaza Strip.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad