Abdul-Nasser Farawna, a Palestinian researcher specialising in detainees’ affairs and a former detainee himself, stated that there are currently 6,800 detainees imprisoned by Israel, including 300 children, 34 women, and 213 detainees in administrative detention. Farawna stated that eleven elected legislators are still imprisoned by Israel, and that there are nearly 1,500 detainees who are ill and need urgent medical attention; dozens of them need surgeries and constant hospitalization.
He also said that the detainees are held in nearly twenty prisons, detention and interrogation centers, mainly in Ramon, Shatta, Gilboa’, Asqalan, Hadarim, Al Damoun, Be’er Sheva, Ofer, Majoddo and the Negev detention camp.
Most of the detainees (83%) are from the West Bank, and 10.6% of them are from Gaza while the rest are Arab residents of Israel and other Arab nationals.
800 detainees were sentenced to at least one life-term; 590 were sentenced to more than twenty years; 472 were sentenced to more than 15 years; 15 were sentenced to more than 15 and less than 20 years; while 710 were sentenced to more than 20 years and several life-terms.
There are 213 detainees who are imprisoned under administrative detention orders without charges or trial, and seven detainees from Gaza are detained under for what Israel calls “illegal combatants”.
309 detainees were arrested before the first Oslo agreement and before the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, 117 detainees were arrested since more than 20 years, and 17 detainees were arrested since more than 19 years.
Detainees Nael al-Barghouthi, Fakhri al-Barghouthi and Akram Mansour have been imprisoned since more than 30 years.
Farawna called on Human Rights groups, different related institutions and media facilities to highlight the issue of the detainees and to launch solidarity campaigns demanding their release.
He added that the captured prisoner-of-war, Gilad Shalit, held by the resistance in Gaza, should not be released until all detainees, especially those who spent so many years behind bars, and those sentenced to high terms, are released.
Corporal Gilad Shalit is the only Israeli held by the Palestinians. He was captured on June 26, 2006.