The Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies reported on Thursday that an Israeli Military Court decided to extend solitary confinement against Sheikh Jamal Abu Al Haija, one of Hamas' leaders, who is currently in solitary confinement in the Al Ramla prison.

Abu Al Haija was sentenced to nine life-terms and additional twenty years. He is in very bad health, as one of his hands was amputated during the massive Israeli assault against the Jenin refugee camp in April 2002. Abu Al Haija is also suffering from a skin disease.

 The Israeli assault  against the camp started on April 3 and lasted through April 13. The United Nations said after the attack that the Israeli army killed 58 Palestinians, wounded hundreds of others and leveled at least 200 homes.

Abu Al Haija filed an appeal to the Israeli court to allow him to meet both of his detained sons, but his request was rejected. Abdul-Salam one of the sons of Abu Haija was sentenced to seven and a half years, and his other son, Asem, has been under administrative detention for three years.

The wife of Abu Al Haija said that she is worried since her husband’s health condition is continuously deteriorating, and voiced an appeal to the resistance fighters in Gaza, who are holding the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit captive, to make sure that Abu Al Haija and all detainees who are sentenced to lengthy terms, are released in any prisoner swap deal with Israel.

Fuad Al Khuffash, head of the Ahrar Center, stated that the detainees who are in solitary confinement cannot see the sunshine for extended period of times, leading to eye problems and skin diseases due to the humidity in the cells.

Al Khuffash added that Abu Al Haija has been in solitary confinement since he was kidnapped by the army in August 26, 2002.

He stated that the prisoner swap deal should include sections which demand improving the conditions of the Palestinian detainees, and ending solitary confinement and collective punishment policies practiced by Israel.