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Marwan Barghouti solitary confinement prompts fears for his life, says prisoners’ rights group 

February 20, 2024 at 11:55 am

A big mural shows jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on 16 April, 2023 [Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto]

The Palestinian Commission of Detainees’ Affairs said on Monday that it fears for the life of prominent leader Marwan Barghouti who has been placed in solitary confinement in Israel’s Ramla Prison for the third time since the occupation state started its devastating war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

As a senior official in Fatah, Barghouti, 65, was arrested in 2002 and given four life sentences on charges of committing hostile acts against Israel during the Second Intifada. Opinion polls indicate that a broad segment of Palestinians want Barghouti to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as president.

Far-right Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir confirmed last Wednesday that Barghouti is in “isolation”. The move, he said on X, was made after receiving “information about a planned intifada [uprising].”

“Preventing lawyers from visiting [Barghouti] raises real fears for his life, especially since the isolation is accompanied by direct and continuous incitement against him in the Israeli media,” said Qaddoura Fares, the head of the commission. “Barghouti’s isolation falls within the framework of targeting all prisoners… and leaders of the captive national movement through massive transfer operations, collective and solitary confinement, in addition to systematic torture.”

According to Fares, Ben-Gvir’s statement was “another attempt to show off before the Israeli public.”

This is the third time that Barghouti has been transferred to solitary confinement within two months. He was first transferred from Ofer Prison to solitary confinement in Ramla Prison, and then to Rimonim Isolation Unit, before being returned to Ramla.

Fares has called on international institutions and local authorities to shoulder their responsibilities and accelerate work on visiting prisons and stopping all violations against prisoners.

The apartheid state launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border incursion led by Hamas on 7 October, during which 1,200 Israeli soldiers and civilians were killed, many of them by Israeli tanks and an attack helicopter. The ensuing Israeli bombardment has killed more than 29,000 Palestinians and wounded almost 70,000. Around 60 per cent of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure has been destroyed, and there are acute shortages of basic necessities, including food, water, medicine and shelter.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza. This has largely been ignored by the occupation state.

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