prisoners-day

On 17 April each year, Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian people, and the world mark the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners.

Commemorated since 1974, when the first Palestinian prisoner, Mahmoud Hijazi, was freed in a prisoner exchange with the Palestinian Resistance, 17 April is a day of protests, rallies, marches, forums and more to commemorate the struggle of Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli occupation jails and demand their freedom.

We join with the Palestinian prisoners’ movement in calling on organizations and people of conscience around the world to take action on 17 April to express your solidarity and call for freedom for Palestinian political prisoners.

Over 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in Israeli jails. More than 700 of them are held in administrative detention without charge or trial. The others face military courts which convict over 99% of the Palestinians that appear before them. Over 400 Palestinian children as young as 12 years old are held in Israeli prisons.

Every night, Israeli occupation forces conduct violent armed invasions of Palestinian villages, cities, refugee camps and homes, ransacking them and arresting dozens of Palestinians. This comes amid near-daily killings and extrajudicial execution of Palestinians by occupation forces, the demolition of the homes of the families of Palestinian prisoners, new racist laws targeting Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship, and further escalating repression.

International action has seen some response: G4S, the British-Danish security corporation targeted for a global boycott because of its role in providing security systems, control rooms and equipment to Israeli prisons, has announced it is selling off its Israeli subsidiary and leaving the market entirely. However, it’s critical to keep the pressure on G4S until their equipment and security systems are no longer being used to imprison Palestinians, block their movement at checkpoints, or besiege Gaza.

G4S doesn’t only profit on the imprisonment of Palestinians, of course. Black student movements at Columbia University, the University of California and Cornell University have led in building campus boycotts and divestment against G4S because of its role in private imprisonment in the United States, especially of youth, and have won significant victories. Organizing with movements confronting imprisonment and racist oppression, including the Black movement and the prison divestment movement, is particularly crucial in confronting common oppressors; the Black4Palestine statement identified G4S as a strong common target for struggle. Confronting racism and oppression of all forms comes hand in hand with confronting Zionist settler-colonial racism in Palestine.

Palestinian Prisoners’ Day this year also comes amid international repression of Palestinian organizing – for example, the attacks on BDS in France and the arrest and prosecution of BDS activists – and the imprisonment and persecution of Palestinians and fellow strugglers in international prisons, as in the cases of Georges Ibrahim Abdullah, the Holy Land Five, and Rasmea Odeh. 

On Palestinian Prisoners’ Day 2016, key issues facing Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons include:

  • Solitary confinement: nearly 20 Palestinians are being held in long-term solitary confinement, a form of torture. They are demanding return to general population.
  • Administrative detention: over 700 Palestinians are imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention, often targeting community leaders and activists like Eteraf Rimawi, circus teacher Mohammed Abu Sakha, or journalist Musab Kufaisheh.
  • Attacks on students: In the past weeks, Al-Quds University, the Arab American University and other Palestinian universities have been raided by Israeli occupation forces. Student leaders and activists at Bir Zeit University, Al-Quds University, An-Najah University and other institutions have been arrested and imprisoned, in an attempt to stifle student organizing and activism.
  • Torture and mistreatment: Nearly every Palestinian prisoner is subject to “legitimate” torture and abuse under interrogation, including lengthy periods of being held in painful stress positions, sleep deprivation, sexual threats and threats to family members, and direct beating and physical assaults. The vast majority of children arrested report experiencing physical and psychological torture and abuse at the hands of Israeli occupation soldiers and intelligence agents;

Take action for Palestinian Prisoners’ Day!

  1. Organize a protest at an Israeli consulate or embassy, a G4S office, or public square on Sunday, April 17 for Palestinian prisoners. Bring flyers and leaflets or signs, and call for freedom for Palestinian political prisoners. Or join with movements for prison divestment or other issues around racism and mass incarceration for joint protests against racist imprisonment of all kinds.
  1. Organize a forum or discussion about Palestinian prisoners. Help build awareness and action in support of Palestinian prisoners. Participants can also write letters to Palestinian prisoners.
  1. Screen a film – whether as a large event in a cinema, or a small get together in a home – on Palestinian prisoners. Titles include “Tell your tale, little bird,” “Women in Struggle,” “Hunger Strike,” “Palestine: la case prison,” “Degrees of Incarceration,” “A Path to Gaza Prison Camp,” “Lina,” “Detaining Dreams,” “Crayons of Askalan,” “Stone Cold Justice,” “Beyond the Walls,” “At the Heart of a Siege,” and “Stolen Youth.” The new feature film by Mai Masri, “3000 Nights,” focuses on the Palestinian experience of imprisonment.

Send your events to samidoun@samidoun.net or link them to Samidoun on Facebook, or tweet us at @SamidounPP.

Some events already happening for Prisoners’ Day include:

Toulouse
Thursday, 14 April
Protest: Free All Palestinian Prisoners
5:30 pm
Square Charles DeGaulle

New York City
Friday, 15 April
Protest: Celebrate Resistance Before Palestinian Prisoners Day
4:00 pm
G4S Office, 19 W. 44th St, New York City

Milan
Friday, 15 April
Concert: Militant Rap for Palestinian Political Prisoners
7:00 pm
Centro Occupato Autogestito T28, Via dei Transiti 28, Milan, Italy

Rome
Friday, 15 April
Event: Evening of Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners
6:30 pm
Sala Della Chiesa Valdese, Via Firenze 38, Rome, Italy

Lille
Friday, 15 April
Film and Discussion: Palestinian Prisoners’ Day with Hamdan al-Damiri
7:00 pm
Cinema l’Univers, 16 rue Danton, Lille, France

Brussels
Saturday, 16 April
Outdoor Event: Juggling for Mohammed Abu Sakha and Palestinian Prisoners
2:00 pm
Place de l’Albertine, Brussels

London
Saturday, 16 April
March: Palestinian Prisoners’ Parade
12:30 pm
Gower Street (Corner of Torrington Place), London, UK

Montpellier
Saturday, 16 April
Protest: Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners
2:00 pm
Place Comedie, Montpellier, France

Paris
Saturday, 16 April
Protest: Support Palestinian Political Prisoners
3:00 pm
Place du Chatelet

Brussels
Sunday, 17 April
Manifestation: International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners
12:00 pm
Place de la Monnaie, Brussels, Belgium

Genova
Sunday, 17 April
Concert and Gathering: Support Palestinian Prisoners – Al Raseef Concert
5:00 pm
Piazza Truogoli di Santa Brigida, Genova, Italy

Milan
Sunday, 17 April
Concert: Militant Rap for Palestinian Political Prisoners
7:00 pm
Cox18, Via Conchetta 18, Milan, Italy

Toulouse
Sunday, 17 April
Gathering: Palestine Afternoon
1:00 pm
La Chapelle, 36 rue Danielle Casanova, Toulouse, France

Madrid
Sunday, 17 April
Demonstration: Palestinian Prisoners’ Day
6:00 pm
Puerta del Sol, Madrid, Spain

New York

Sunday, 17 April
Speakout: Speak Out for Prson Divestment on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day
1:30 PM
Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn, New York 11201

Paris
Sunday, 17 April
Forum: Freedom for All Palestinian Prisoners
4:00 pm
Academy of Arts and Culture of Kurdistan, 16 rue d’Enghien, Paris

Vienna
Sunday, 17 April
Protest: Palestinian Prisoners Day
3:00 PM
Stephansplatz, Vienna, Austria

Berlin
Sunday, 17 April
Gathering: Palestinian Political Prisoners’ Day
4:00 pm
Franz-Mehring-Platz 1, Berlin, Germany

Camden, UK
Sunday, 17 April
Protest: Palestinian Prisoners Day
5:00 pm
Meet near Kentish Town Tube Station, Camden, UK

London
Sunday, 17 April
Protest: Palestinian Prisoners Day in London
3:00 pm
The Queen’s Walk, Golden Jubilee Bridges, London

Toronto
Sunday, 17 April
Protest: Tent City to Free All Political Prisoners
6:00 pm
British Consulate, 777 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Beirut
Sunday, 17 April
Protest: Stop G4S – Palestinian Prisoners Day
6:00 pm
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Hamra Main Street, Beirut, Lebanon

Limerick
Monday, 18 April
Forum: Palestinian Lawyer Aouda Zbidat on Palestinian Political Prisoners
7:30 pm
Pery’s Hotel, Glentworth St, Limerick

Gennevilliers, France
Monday, 18 April
Event: Press Conference and Public Meeting on Marwan Barghouti
3:30 pm and 6:30 pm
Hotel de Ville, 177 avenue Gabriel Peri, Gennevilliers, France

Cork
Tuesday, 19 April
Forum: Palestinian Lawyer Aouda Zbidat on Palestinian Political Prisoners
8:00 pm
The Imperial Hotel, South Mall, Cork, Ireland

Lille
Wednesday, 20 April
Forum: International Day to Free Political Prisoners
6:00 pm
Grand Place de Lille, 10 rue Royale, Lille, France

Dublin
Wednesday, 20 April
Forum: Palestinian Lawyer Aouda Zbidat on Palestinian Political Prisoners
7:00 pm
The Academy Plaza Hotel, 10-14 Findlater Place, Dublin, Ireland