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Prisoner Samir Issawi released from Israeli jails
Published Monday 23/12/2013 (updated) 25/12/2013 14:34
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Issawi moments after he was released (MaanImages)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli prison service released prominent Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi on Monday evening, freeing him to return to his East Jerusalem home.

Local sources told Ma'an that Issawi was set free from Shatta prison in northern Israel, and subsequently headed to his East Jerusalem home.

His release comes after Israeli forces raided his family home twice in the last days.

On Sunday morning, Israeli forces handed notices to his brother and father demanding they meet with Israeli intelligence forces.

On Monday morning, Israeli forces raided his home again and threatened his family that they would not allow any celebration of his release to take place in the neighborhood.

Issawi was released as part of an agreement in which he ended a 266-day hunger strike in April, during which time he became an international cause célèbre who focused attention on the plight of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Issawi's hunger strike was one of the longest in history, and brought him close to death.


Issawi was originally arrested by Israeli forces during the Second Intifada, but was among hundreds of prisoners released in 2011 as part of a deal to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The release agreement confined him to Jerusalem, but he was re-arrested in July 2012 after traveling to a village that is mostly in Jerusalem but also partially in the West Bank.

He subsequently launched a hunger strike against the renewed detention, and only concluded the strike after Israel agreed to release him.

5,200 Palestinians were being held in Israeli jails as of Oct. 2013, 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.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
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1 ) munmun / palestine
23/12/2013 19:31
bravo! welcome back to our jerusalem. you will have a big celebration. we should celebrate your struggle and achievement which are yet to continue even after your freedom from the prison until our real freedom. one of our young relatives was also recently released and received by crowds of people from in and out of jerusalem. surely so many of us would love to welcome you in person.

2 ) ani ma'amin / UK
23/12/2013 21:42
Issawi – who was freed by Israel in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, but recently re-arrested for violating his release conditions - was originally sentenced to 26 years in prison for his involvement in a series of violent terror attacks, including indiscriminately firing an assault rifle at public buses, and manufacturing and distributing pipe bombs used in attacks on Israeli civilians. Get this criminal back in jail, where he belongs in 2014, or before.

3 ) to the colonist @ #2 above / occupied jerusalem
23/12/2013 23:32
Issawi "belongs" in his native land and city, free from the brutal occupation of foreigners. Israeli "civilians" (hard to use that word when you're talking about a military masquerading as a society!) "belong" in France, Yemen, UK, Morocco, and a whole string of other countries, none of which are Palestine. If settlers want to live in Palestine in peace, they must surrender colonial privilege and treat indigenous people as equal humans. Until they do this, they will probably keep being attacked.

4 ) carlos / usa
24/12/2013 00:48
Best of luck to Samir Issawi. israel is the terrorist and occupier denying freedom. Accusations and convictions by the lying israeli government mean nothing. Not one Jewish israeli soldier has ever been convicted or spent any significant time in prison for crimes. Why? Because israel does not consider violence against goyim a crime even if they murder them in cold blood.

5 ) Colin Wright / USA
24/12/2013 02:31
To ani #2: 'Get this criminal back in jail, where he belongs in 2014, or before.' The Zionists would have a real problem running their state if all the criminals who are currently running free in Israel were 'in jail where they belong.' For starters, there goes most of the IDF.

6 ) Miriam / usa
24/12/2013 05:47
Madiba explained to those unable to comprehend that occupation, house raids, dehumanization, theft, & outright barbarism including assassination, torture, indefinite imprisonment, etc are only some of the reasons that Palestinians, as did our South African brothers RESIST oppressive racist dehumanization...to achieve Self Determination. Go read UN Human Rights Declaration. What part of liberation don't you get, #2 ? Oh, & why R YOU 'free' 2 live in Palestine but Palestinians indigenous r not?

7 ) Penelope Lichtenecker / Austria
24/12/2013 09:31
It is good to hear that Issawi can go home.

8 ) Khaled Nazzal / Palestine
24/12/2013 11:30
Issawi is a freedom fighter and a hero. He was taken prisoner and released twice, both times despite the israeli occupation's will. The first time in the Gilad Shalit exchange and the second time after a 266 day hunger strike that mobilized Palestine and thousands around the world. He is an encarnation of resistance and a proof that the military might of tyrany state like israel can do nothing against the will of free men who decide to resist. Long live Samer Issawi and long live Palestine !

9 ) Emsan / the netherlands
24/12/2013 19:18
Great news !

10 ) spb / us
25/12/2013 06:18
Yella put him on pa salary
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