[Saturday, May 3, 2014] Former political prisoner and head of the Census Department at the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees, Abdul-Nasser Ferwana, stated that, by the end of last month, April 2014, the number of detainees held by Israel had arrived to 5100.Ferwana stated that %84.5 of the detainees are from the West Bank, while the rest are from Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and historic Palestine.
The detainees are held in 17 prisons and detention centers, mainly in Nafha, Ramon, Asqalan, Glaboa’, Shatta, ar-Ramla, ad-Damoun, HaSharon, Hadarim, the Negev Detention camp, Ofer and Majeddo.
He added that 477 detainees are serving a minimum of one life term, 439 serving terms of at least 20 years, and 1,047 detainees have been sentenced to 10-20 years.
Ferwana further stated that Israel is also holding captive 18 female detainees, 207 children, 192 Administrative Detainees (without charge or trial), 11 legislators and one former minister.
“The Palestinians are still awaiting the release of the 30 remaining veteran detainees, held since before the first Oslo agreement, including the oldest serving detainee Karim Younis, who was taken prisoner by Israel more than 31 years ago,” Ferwana added.
The detainees were supposed to be released as part of a deal mediated by the United States, to ensure the release of all veteran detainees on four stages, as part of direct Palestinian-Israel talks, but Israel implemented three stages and unilaterally put a hold on the fourth.
“Right now, at least 1,400 detainees are suffering from various medical conditions, including 17 permanently staying at the Ramla Prison Clinic that lacks basic supplies and specialized physicians,” the official added,
“Some of them are paralyzed, more than 80 suffer with chronic conditions, and 25 have cancer.”
Dozens of detainees have physical or mental conditions, but are not provided with the urgently needed specialized medical attention and treatment.
As for detainees who died after their arrest, Ferwana stated that 205 detainees have died since 1967.
The causes of death range from excessive torture, during interrogation, to the lack of adequate medical treatment, and the excessive use of force. Some of them were executed by the arresting officers.
Ferwana further said that seven Palestinian detainees were killed by live rounds fired at them while in prison; this includes As’ad ash-Shawwa, Ali Sammoudi and Mohammad al-Ashqar.
Hundreds of detainees died, after their release, due to various diseases and conditions contracted while in prison.
The conditions largely left untreated include cancer, liver and heart diseases.
“Detainees Fayez Zeidat, Ashraf Abu Threi’, Morad Abu Sakout, and Hayel Abu Zeid are just a few examples of Israel’s atrocities against the detainees,” Ferwana added.
Dozens of detainees are currently holding an open-ended hunger strike; most of them started their strike at least 10 days ago, protesting their imprisonment under illegitimate Administrative Detention orders.
“Many detainees even started their strike more than two months ago,” Ferwana said, “We need to support those detainees. We need to expose the Israeli violations against them, locally, regionally and internationally. We need to close this file and ensure the release of all detainees.”