A prominent Palestinian activist, jailed for organizing demonstrations against Israel’s West Bank separation wall, has been freed after 15 months in Israeli detention.
The 39-year-old coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Bilin, Abdullah Abu Rahma, was released on Monday and was met by scores of family members, friends and supporters, AFP reported.
Abu Rahma was arrested in December 2009 and convicted eight months later of having organized protest rallies in the village of Bilin in the occupied West Bank.
He was to be released in November 2010, but Israeli prosecutors said his original sentence wasn’t long enough and appealed for an extension.
Tel Aviv began constructing the West Bank separation wall in 2000. Palestinians see it as a land grab because it occupies chunks of West Bank areas where they want to establish an independent Palestinian state.
More than 11,500 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisons under harsh conditions, according to Palestinian sources. A total of 270 of the detainees are under the age of 18, and 33 of the prisoners are women.
Palestinian data show that the prisoners are subjected to various kinds of mistreatment and torture in Israeli detention facilities and are often deprived of visits by their families.
The Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners states that almost half of the 315 prisoners arrested before the Oslo Agreement have been in Israeli jails for over 20 years.
There are more than 1,500 cases of illness among prisoners in Israeli jails, including heart problems, kidney failures, and cancer. Israeli authorities deny these ailing prisoners adequate medical care and often medication is limited to painkillers, alone.
There are also prisoners kept in solitary confinement, which leads to psychological problems. The data indicates that about 14 prisoners have been subjected to isolated confinement for more than five years.