10 July 2008 Edition
De Brún seeks action on Palestinian prisoners
Speaking on Wednesday after attending a hearing on the issue in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and in advance of the debate with the European Commission and Council, de Brún said:
“MEPs today debate the plight of Palestinian prisoners, leading hopefully to renewed action on a list of basic humanitarian and human rights demands, bearing in mind that more than 700,000 Palestinians have been jailed by the Israeli authorities since 1967. Today approximately 10,000 Palestinians, including 118 women, are held in Israeli detention and interrogation centres or in Israeli prisons, out of a population of 3.5 million Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Some are awaiting trial and some are detained without trial in what is called ‘administrative detention’ where a military order allows for internment without trial for up to six months, which can be renewed indefinitely.
“Family visits are also under threat and some 785 prisoners from Gaza have had no visits for over ten months.
“I hope that politicians and human rights groups in the North of Ireland can also contact the Israeli authorities, the European Commission and the European Council to add their voice to those of the MEPs asking for the Israeli government to meet international standards in respect of those detained.
“Today’s hearing gave disturbing reports on the treatment of Palestinian prisoners and in particular on the detention of children. Children arrested for stone throwing are tried not in juvenile courts but in military courts in contravention of international law. They appear in these military courts in shackles and are often held for months awaiting trial, as was documented in the recent award winning ITV news report Too young to die – Children of the frontline.”