Palestinian prisoners’ groups denounced on Saturday a decision by the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to ban Ma’an TV being aired inside Israeli prisons, saying the move was made to disconnect Palestinian prisoners from the outside world and strip them of their rights.
Osama al-Wahidi, a spokesperson for, Hossam Association for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners, said in a statement: “This decision seeks to separate prisoners from their surroundings and to keep them unaware of activism and media programs made to support their struggle,”
Head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Qaraqe, also slammed the decision as “part of a comprehensive and aggressive attack” on prisoners and their rights and dignity.
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Both statements noted that a number of programs on Ma’an are directed at Palestinian prisoners, depicting their daily suffering in Israeli custody.
Qaraqe believes that Israeli authorities deemed these shows and programs as incitement, and “abusively” decided to ban the channel inside Israeli jails.
As of Saturday evening, Ma’an had not received a response to a request for comment made Friday to an IPS spokesperson on the matter.
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Qaraqe said: “What happened with Ma’an TV invalidates all claims that Israel is a democratic state.”
Editor-in-Chief of Ma’an News Agency, Dr. Nasser Lahham, said on Friday regarding Ma’an’s ban: “We have always been this way and we will continue to be this way,” Lahham added.
The IPS decision came amid an ongoing mass hunger strike among Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody in protest of administrative detention, an Israeli policy of detention without charge or trial, almost exclusively used against Palestinians.