Dé Céadaoin, Aibreán 21, 2010

IPSC and éirígí Mark Palestinian Prisoners Day

The annual Palestinian Prisoners Day was marked in Dublin on Saturday [April 17] with a demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy. The protest was jointly organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) and éirígí.

Around 60 people attended the demonstration, including 15 éirígí activists.

It was part of a series of events being held in the Palestinian territories and worldwide to highlight the appalling conditions under which Palestinian prisoners are held in Israeli jails and to demand their immediate release. Demonstrations were held throughout the West Bank, east Jerusalem and in Gaza, where a protest and 24 hour fast were held at the offices of the Red Cross.

The Palestinian Prisoners Day protests took place within hours of the death of Palestinian prisoner Raed Abu Hamad in his cell at Eshel Prison. Hamad, who was serving a ten year sentence, had been in solitary confinement for the past 18 months and, according to his lawyer, had been continually denied medical treatment.

In the region of 7000 Palestinians are believed to be currently incarcerated in appalling conditions in Israeli jails. Around 300 of those are in what is known as “administrative detention” – in short, they have been interned without trial.

Those prisoners who were ‘convicted’ did not receive fair trials as they were subject to Israeli military law and had their cases heard in biased non-jury military courts, making a mockery of Israel’s claims to be a ‘liberal democracy’. Among those detained are around 300 children, and according to human rights organisations, that figure is on the increase.

The demonstration was addressed by éirígí spokesperson Dáithí Mac An Mhaistír and IPSC spokesperson Freda Mullin Hughes. While the demonstration at the Israeli embassy demanded the release of ALL Palestinian political prisoners, both speakers paid a particular focus on the cases of two individuals abducted and held as prisoners by Israel in order to highlight the ill-treatment of Palestinians at the hands of the zionist state’s so-called ‘justice’ system – the cases of Ahmad Sa’dat of the PFLP and Abdallah Abu Rahmah of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall.

Speaking at the demonstration, Daithí said, “There is a strong tradition of solidarity between Irish republicans and Palestinians, especially when it comes to the issue of prisoners.

“That political prisoners have been and continue to be a feature of the political life of Palestine and Ireland is emblematic of the failed nature of attempts to pacify an occupied people.”

He concluded: “While it is important for us to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, what is far more important is that we work in whatever way we can to support the Palestinian resistance and help end the occupation.”

Click here for Daithí's full speech at the demonstration.

For more pictures of the protest click here.

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