PLO denounces alleged Israeli prison abuse of terror convict Marwan Barghouti

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

A banner with a picture of jailed Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti and some fellow inmates, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 1, 2017. (Nasser Nasser/AP)
A banner with a picture of jailed Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti and some fellow inmates, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 1, 2017. (Nasser Nasser/AP)

The Palestine Liberation Organization alleges that Israeli prison authorities are mistreating Fatah Central Committee member Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life terms for planning three terror attacks that killed five Israelis during the Second Intifada.

In a statement, the PLO claims that the Israeli prison administration has subjected Barghouti to “isolation and torture,” and is “waging a war on Palestinian prisoners that is no less fierce than the field battle in Gaza and the West Bank.”

The appeal was issued after lawyers who visited detainees in Megiddo prison heard and reported that Barghouti was recently subject to abuse and beatings, according to a statement by the Campaign to Free Marwan Barghouti and All Prisoners.

Barghouti’s popularity on the Palestinian street has made him a top future candidate to lead the Palestinian Authority. Hamas has included him among the hundreds of terror detainees it seeks to see released in exchange for hostages kidnapped from Israel on October 7, even though Barghouti is a member of its rival movement Fatah.

Hussein al-Sheikh, a top aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and Qadura Fares, director of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, also urge the international community to intervene to stop repressive measures against Barghouti and pressure Israel to release him.

In January, Barghouti petitioned an Israeli court in January to be removed from isolation in the Ayalon prison, where he was at the time, alleging mistreatment by guards and poor conditions.

The PLO statement also calls on international institutions to ensure fair treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and demands “the immediate release of 7,000 West Bankers who have been arrested since October 7.” The IDF puts the number at 3,500, including more than 1,500 affiliated with Hamas.

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