PA minister urges Pope to intervene sick Palestinian prisoners
Published Saturday 07/12/2013 (updated) 07/12/2013 16:27
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Qaraqe on Saturday sent a Christmas letter to the Catholic Pope Francis urging him to intervene to save the lives of numerous sick Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israeli prisons.
"On the occasion of Christmas celebrations, the world prays for peace, love, and human justice ... following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ who defended the weak and tortured people, and brought the good tidings that tyranny and suffering would come to an end," Qaraqe wrote in the letter.
"Meanwhile, several sick Palestinians are jailed in Israel and their lives are at risk due to negligence and lack of appropriate medical treatment."
"As guardian of rightfulness and justice, I urge you to immediately intervene to save the lives of those who are suffering from lethal diseases, and who need support and backing as they struggle behind bars in Israeli jails."
As of Oct. 2013, 5,200 Palestinians were being held in Israeli jails, according to the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs. Another 1,280 are in Israeli prisons for being inside Israel without permits.
Since 1967, more than 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel, representing 20 percent of the total population and 40 percent of all males in the occupied territories.
Under international law, it is illegal to transfer prisoners outside of the occupied territory in which they are detained, and the families of Palestinian prisoners' face many obstacles in obtaining permits to see their imprisoned relatives.