On the 25 June Sahar Francis – General Director of Ramallah-based Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association gave a talk in European Parliament about the situation of Palestinian political prisoners in israeli jails and Israel`s administrative detention practices.
In her presentation Sahar highlighted Israel`s violation of human rights and international law such as ill-treatment and abuse of Palestinian detainees, detention without chargers, torture, denial of visits by family members, denial of access to legal representation, unacceptable conditions in prisons and detention centres, lack of access to required health care, and denial of access to education, including for children.
“Israel’s ill-treatment and abuse of Palestinian detainees is widespread and systematic and typically starts from the moment of arrest. Most detainees, including children, report being beaten, kicked, threatened, having their property illegally searched and confiscated and their family home destroyed” – Sahar said
At the moment there are 4,979 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention centers, including 156 administrative detainees, 17 women and 236 children
“Palestinians have been subjected to administrative detention since the beginning of the Israeli Occupation in 1967. The frequency of the use of administrative detention has fluctuated throughout Israel’s occupation, and has been steadily rising” – she added
During her visit in Brussels Sahar Francis met with several MEP`s and representatives of national parliament.
Sahar Francis is continuing in her efforts to highlight the issue of the Palestinian prisoners at the European political level. Several meetings were organised with the European Parliament to discuss the suffering of the prisoners including the harsh conditions they face inside the occupation prisons.
With over eleven years of human rights experience, including human rights counseling and representation, Ms Francis regularly represents Addameer Association at various international, regional and local human rights conferences and meetings with EU and UN representatives. In the past she gave an expert testimony before the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, in Geneva on 6 July 2009. She also addressed the European Parliament in 2008 in Strasbourg and represented Addameer at a regional Middle Eastern seminar on monitoring human rights in places of detention, organized by the Association for the Prevention of Torture.