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PLO: Israel plans to threaten Marwan Barghouthi's life

The Palestine Liberation Organisation's (PLO) Commission for Prisoners' Affairs warned yesterday against alleged Israeli intentions to harm the life of imprisoned Fatah leader, Marwan Barghouthi, who has been leading a large-scale hunger strike in Israeli prisons since 17 April.

The head of the Commission, Issa Qaraqe, said the Israeli government has particularly decided to target Barghouthi for his role in leading the mass hunger strike, Moheet reported.

"The Israeli occupation's government is targeting the life of the leader of the Dignity and Freedom hunger strike, which is calling for improving detention conditions," Qaraqe said, noting that the Israeli Prison Service continues to hold Barghouthi in solitary confinement in Al-Jalama prison in northern Israel, denying him lawyer visitations and placing conditions for such visitations.

Barghouthi is being held in a "small, grave-like prison cell" measuring barely three square metres without a window, leaving him unable to properly move and sleep. The cell is made of concrete and is barely lit, Qaraqe explained. "He is banned from [yard] breaks, which means that he has not seen the sun since the beginning of the strike action," he added.

According to Qaraqe, Barghouthi has lost 10 kilograms and is suffering from a severe drop in blood pressure, blood sugar levels and has become very frail. The Israeli Prison Service has also confiscated all of Barghouti's clothes and other personal belongings.

By placing Barghouthi under such inhumane and unsanitary conditions, Israel intends to endanger his life, Qaraqe concluded.

Nearly 1,600 Palestinian prisoners answered calls made by senior Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi to launch a hunger strike and demand their basic rights starting on 17 April.

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