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Israel transfers Marwan Barghouti to maximum-security Ayalon prison

Image of a poster depicting the portrait of jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti during a protest on 14 April 2015 [Shadi Hatem/Apaimages]
A poster depicting the portrait of jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti during a protest on 14 April 2015 [Shadi Hatem/Apaimages]

The Israeli Prison Service has transferred senior Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti to the maximum-security Ayalon prison in Ramallah, following a message he issued urging Palestinians to continue resisting the Israeli occupation.

According to the Palestinian Authority's Prisoner Affairs Commission, Barghouti was placed in solitary confinement in Hadarim Prison before being transferred to Ayalon as a punishment for encouraging the Palestinian struggle against Israeli settler-colonialism and occupation.

Israel arrested 62-year-old Barghouti in 2002 and sentenced him to life imprisonment on charges of planning armed attacks against Israelis.

He released a statement from his prison cell last week calling on the Palestinians to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque and other Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem, which he described as "the beating heart of the nation and the eternal capital of the Palestinian people".

"We are living at a critical time for the future of our cause and our struggle," he said.

He added that Palestinians' relationship with Israeli "imperialism" should be one of "resistance, rejection, struggle and boycott, not one of accommodation, bargaining, and appeasement".

READ: From his solitary confinement, Marwan Barghouti holds the key to Fatah's future

He also called for Palestinian unity, saying that the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) should be "rebuilt" to include Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Barghouti was only 15 years old when he was arrested for the first time in 1976. In 1983 he started his education in Birzeit University where he was elected president of the Student Council for three years in a row, and co-founder the Fatah Youth Movement before being arrested and deported in 1986.

In April 1994 he returned to the occupied West Bank after the Oslo Accords were signed between the PLO and Israel. In 1996, he was elected a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).

In April 2002 he was arrested during the Israeli invasion of the West Bank and was subjected to months of torture and spent more than 1,000 days in solitary confinement.

In 2004, an Israeli court sentenced him to five life terms plus 40 years.

Barghouti has a PhD in political science from the Institute for Research and Arab Studies of the Arab League.

Over the past few years, he has published a number of books including 1,000 nights in solitary confinement.

Earlier this year he announced his intention to stand for election during the upcoming presidential polls.

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