Israeli prison authorities have placed jailed Palestinian MP Marwan Barghouti into solitary confinement just one day after he called for "million-man marches" in Israel and the Palestinian diaspora. The Fatah leader wants the protests to coincide with the attempts to get Palestine recognised by the UN in September.
The Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs in Gaza said that officers of Israel's internal security agency, Shin Bet, and Special Forces targeted the MP's cell when they trashed through the prison on the pretext that he was using a mobile phone. According to Riad Al-Ashkar, Director of Information at the Ministry, the officers searched the cell thoroughly and then destroyed everything inside, including the personal belongings of all the prisoners in the room. After three hours, Barghouti and another prisoner, Nasser Abyat, were put in solitary confinement.
Mr. Al-Ashkar said that the raid was the second in one day; earlier, two other prisoners were removed from their cells. Ahmed Barghouti was taken for interrogation while Akram Jabarin was also put in solitary confinement.
The Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs holds the occupation authorities responsible for the lives of the prisoners. "This has been done to humiliate them," said Mr. Al-Ashkar, "and to damage the morale of the other prisoners. The men placed in solitary confinement are national symbols."