September 27 2008: Conference on Palestinian Political Prisoners

A full-day conference with: Speakers • Films • Live report from Palestine

Saturday September 27th
11am – 4pm
SFU Harbour Centre
515 West Hastings Street

Throughout the decades of Israeli military occupation, Palestinians from all walks of life have been illegally detained by Israel. Since 1967, more than 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. This forms approximately 20% of the total Palestinian population of the Occupied Palestinian Territories and 40% of the total male population. At present, an estimated 10,000 Palestinians are in prison because of their refusal to accept foreign occupation and ongoing Israeli colonization.

From Canada to Israel, incarceration has been central to the process of colonization and the dispossession of the indigenous population from their lands. At the same time, political prisoners remain at the centre of struggles against occupation and apartheid.

On September 27th the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign will be hosting a conference on Palestinian prisoners and struggle for liberation, featuring:

ABLA SA’ADAT, Palestinian activist, former political prisoner, and partner of Ahmad Sa’adat – General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who was kidnapped by the Israeli military in 2006 and is currently being illegally detained by Israel (Live report from Palestine).

ADAM HANIEH, organizer with the Toronto Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid and author of ‘Stolen Youth: The Politics of Israel’s Detention of Palestinian Children.’

CHARLOTTE KATES, an organizer and activist with New Jersey Solidarity-Activists for the Liberation of Palestine and Al-Awda, the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition New York’s chapter. She’s a Rutger School of Law graduate admitted to practice in New York & New Jersey. She currently works at the Centre for Constitutional Rights in New York City as an Education and Outreach Organizer on its project representing Guantanamo Detainees. She’s Also the Co-Chair of the Middle East Subcommittee of the National Lawyers Guild.

SOBHI AL-ZOBAIDI, Palestinian filmmaker will be presenting his film ‘Light at the End of the Tunnel’ that follows six ex-detainees in Palestine following their release and return to their families and community.

LYNN HIGHWAY, organizer with John Graham Defense and prison abolition activist.

For more information contact the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign:
boycottapartheid@gmail.com | www.boycottisraeliapartheid.org | 604-220-0451

SOME FACTS ABOUT PALESTINIAN POLITICAL PRISONERS:

• Under current military orders in the West Bank, the following activities are defined as threats to the security of Israel: putting up political posters, writing political slogans, participating in demonstrations and belonging to any political party. What counts as exercising Charter rights in Canada makes you a “security threat” to Israel–if you’re Palestinian.

• More than 700 of the approximately 10,000 Palestinians currently held in Israeli prisons are “administrative detainees” meaning that they are held on secret evidence, have no right to a trial, and are held for six-month periods that can be renewed indefinitely.

• In addition, all Palestinians detained by the Israeli military can be barred access to a lawyer for 90 days, and can be held for “interrogation” without being charged for 188 days. At any given time, about 40% of Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails have not been tried and convicted of anything.

• Currently, 316 of the Palestinian political prisoners are children (under the age of 18). Since September 2000, more than 6,000 Palestinian children have been detained in Israeli jails.

• Since 1967, more than 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel. This means that almost 40% of all Palestinian males have been incarcerated in an Israeli jail.

• Palestinian residents of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem are almost all prosecuted in Israeli military courts, which fail to meet international standards for a fair trial. Military judges and prosecutors are not required to have civilian legal training. Military courts do not publish their decisions, and no justification is required for “administrative detention” other than a judge stating that their approval is based on “secret evidence.”

• Israeli law allows “physical pressure” during “special” interrogations. A 2006 study by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem found that two-thirds of Palestinian detainees they interviewed reported serious physical and psychological ill-treatment, while one-third reported ill-treatment that constitutes torture under international law. Of more than 500 complaints of torture and ill-treatment against Israeli interrogators 2001-2006, not one resulted in a criminal investigation.

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