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Israel punishes Palestinian prisoner for publishing a novel

Megiddo prison in Israel [Twitter]

The Israeli Prison Service has imposed a punishment package on a Palestinian prisoner for publishing a novel, the Palestinian Prisoners' Club revealed on Tuesday. Walid Dagga is the author of The Tale of the Secret of Oil.

Lawyer Ahmad Siyam has visited Abu Dagga in prison in Megiddo. He said that the newly-imposed punitive measures include the deprivation of family visits for two months and the confiscation of all of his writings and books. Dagga, who has been behind bars for 33 years, was also fined around $140 and moved from Jalbou Prison to Megiddo. He told his lawyer that the prison officials have warned him that he faces solitary confinement if he publishes a second book.

Israeli officials said that it was not aware of the publication of the book, nor of how the manuscript was smuggled out of prison.

In commenting on the issue, the Head of the PPC, Qaddoura Fares, said that the Israeli occupation authorities had fought against attempts by Palestinian prisoners to educate themselves. "The prisoners only got books, pens, and paper after several hunger strikes," he explained.

READ: Israel punishes Palestinian prisoners and their families by paying arbitrary fines

Fares also pointed out that the Israeli Prison Service prevents hundreds of Palestinian prisoners from exercising their right to learn. Many had been re-arrested by Israel as a result of their writing and publications.

Dagga, from Baqa Al-Gharbiyeh in occupied Palestine, holds a Master of Arts degree in political science. He was arrested on 25 March, 1986 on charges of being affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the kidnapping and killing of an Israeli soldier.

Tamer Association for Community Education published his 96 page novel. The storyline revolves around a child who is prevented from visiting his father in prison, so he hides inside an olive tree which is planned to be moved into the prison.

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