Conditions in Israeli prisons begin to normalize after strike

In her first visit after suspension of the hunger strike, advocate Buthaina Duqmaq paid a visit to Nafha Prison on 7 September 2004. Ms. Duqmaq met the prisoners’ representative Tawfic Abu-Na’im along with Omar Barghouthi, Issa Shabanah and Tareq Zaydan.

Abu-Na’im affirmed negotiations with the prison administration are still on. Conditions began to normalize as the administration returned the electrical equipment it had confiscated earlier, extended the exercise period to one and a half hour and returned TV reception but restricted Al-Jazeera, Palestine Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) and al-Manar networks. The administration brought several inmates from solitary confinement back to common holding cells. These included Hafez Quduss, Nasser Issa, Mohammad Touss, Jamil Misk, Farid Qaissy and Mohammad Hassan.

Mr. Abu-Na’im asserted conditions at prisons need about one month to stabilize before the beginning of negotiations over the remaining issues. These are:

  • Removal of the glass partition in the visiting area;
  • Allowing prisoners to join correspondence programs with Arab and Palestinian universities;
  • Installation of public telephones inside prison sections;
  • Ending the policy of strip search;
  • Return of security prisoners to work the kitchens;
  • Return the Laundromat back to work.

    In his turn, Mr. Omar Barghouthi confirmed the prison authority escalated its punitive measures against inmates during the hunger strike including beatings. He asserted Israeli measures did not affect the unity and steadfastness of prisoners. Inmates expressed gratitude for the popular solidarity shown by Arab and Palestinian masses during the hunger strike and its positive role in their battle for dignity and freedom.

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