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Hamas: Palestine electoral body must stop punishing those held in long-term detention by Israel

Security measures are taken in front of Central Election Commission building after Palestinian authorities on Saturday opened registration for the legislative elections, scheduled for 22 May in Gaza City, Gaza on March 20, 2021. [Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency]
Security measures are taken in front of Central Election Commission building after Palestinian authorities on Saturday opened registration for the legislative elections, scheduled for 22 May in Gaza City, Gaza on March 20, 2021. [Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency]

Hamas said it deeply regrets the Palestinian Central Elections Committee's decision not to allow Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jails Hassan Salama to run in the upcoming ballot.

In a statement, Hamas said: "We have received with deep regret the Central Election Commission's decision to deny Palestinian detainee Hassan Salama his right to run for elections under the pretext that he is not registered in the voters database, despite being imprisoned by the Israeli occupation for more than a quarter of a century."

Hamas said that it had contacted the chief of the Elections Committee prior to adding Salama to its list and explained the situation.

"We have explained all circumstances in this regard to the Central Election Commission, contacted its chief to demonstrate the gravity of denying a Palestinian detainee his right to run for elections, and pointed to the seriousness of the Commission, as a national institution, to make such unjustifiable acts," the statement said.

It added: "Abiding by the Palestinian Law, a number of competent lawyers filed an appeal against the Commission's decision to the Elections Court, which reviewed it on Saturday and postponed the ruling until Monday morning, given that it is a national issue that requires further discussion.

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"But we were shocked to learn that the Elections Court has turned down the appeal and endorsed the Commission's decision."

Hamas called for the Elections Commission to review its decision. "The Commission should have developed the mechanisms needed to preserve the political rights of Palestinian detainees."

The Elections Commission, for its part, said in a statement that it is just a body that implements elections laws and "it is not biased to any political side."

In a letter from prison, Salama said he was shocked to find himself defending his rights in front of Palestinian judges.

"It is a nightmare that I need to defend my right to be a Palestinian due to being disappeared and held in solitary confinement by the Israeli occupation."

He said that he could not register his name in the electoral record due to his ongoing detention.

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