A Palestinian human rights worker has reported that Israeli forces continue to prevent, Umm Ibrahim, an elderly woman in her 70s, from visiting her son after 14 years on the pretext that she poses as security threat to Israel. Umm Ibrahim had no choice but to find a Palestinian family from neighbouring area to adopt her son and visit him on her behalf, as she has previously done with other Arab prisoners.
Abdel Nasser Farwana who is a researcher specialising in prisoner affairs added that Umm Ibrahim Baroud, from Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, is one of thousands of Palestinians barred from visiting their sons who are being detained in Israeli jails on various pretexts. These include so-called security reasons that are used by the Israeli authorities to punish prisoners and their families.
Farwana stressed that the security-related measure of banning visits to prisoners is no longer an exceptional practice and constitutes a worrying phenomenon since the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada (uprising). This measure has become an established policy through which the families of thousands of detainees are denied the right to visit their sons. The pretext given has been “security reasons” and that families’ access to prisons constitutes a threat on Israeli security. Therefore, nearly one third of Palestinian prisoners are banned from family visits for various excuses.
Farawana also said that Umm Ibrahim is a witness to this unfair policy that has nothing to do with security. Rather, it is a policy that in its essence and implementation reflects the Israeli Occupations mentality of revenge which is clearly manifested in the way that it deals with prisoners and their families. These policies aim at punishment, preventing family reunions and communication and making things as difficult as possible to maximise suffering.
Farwana appealed to all international organizations, with the International Committee of the Red Cross at their forefront, for urgent intervention to lift the security ban on prisoners’ relatives in general, and with the aim of ensuring the resumption of the visits schedule and allowing all families to visit their sons in prisons.
He also mentioned that Umm Ibrahim’s eldest son, Ibrahim Baroud, 48, had been arrested on the 9th of April, 1986 and sentenced to 27 years – so far he has served 24 years, during which he was moved between several prisons. He is currently held in the Ashkelon prison.