Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Global Week of Action for Palestinian Prisoners, and the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat organized a conference on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day in Brussels, Belgium on April 19, 2014. The event, held in a packed room at Pianofabriek Culturencentrum in Brussels, included presentations and talks, a photography exhibition and music.
Leila Khaled, Palestinian political leader and icon of the resistance, sent her greetings to the event via video:
Charlotte Kates of Samidoun and the National Lawyers Guild (U.S.) discussed the legal and political situation of Palestinian prisoners, the mass imprisonment of Palestinians, and criminalization of resistance. Rabee Eid, Palestinian journalist from Palestine ’48, spoke about the Palestinian prisoners from ’48 and the legacy of mass imprisonment from the earliest days of the colonization of Palestine.
Jan of Palestina Solidariteit presented on Palestinian child prisoners and the growing international campaign to boycott G4S, the world’s largest security corporation, which provides security services to occupation prisons and Ofer military court.
Khaled Barakat, coordinator of the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat, addressed the political implications of imprisonment for the Palestinian liberation movement and the use of isolation as a constant tactic, both inside and outside the occupation prisons, to separate Palestinians from one another. He discussed the prisons and the prisoners as centers of resistance and resistance leaders for the Palestinian movement as a whole.
The event also included a photo exhibition with the images and stories of Palestinian women former prisoners by photographer Asmaa Seba, and concluded with Palestinian food and music by Souk-Souk Soundsystem. The photo exhibition, “Suspended Lives,” showcased former women prisoners with photos of themselves prior to their time in occupation prisons.
“It was very important to have this event here in Brussels to bring Palestinian voices speaking about the Palestinian prisoners, G4S and the BDS movement,” said one of the Palestinian youth who organized the event. “We plan to continue to organize similar events of this type to build the movement further.”
The event followed a successful protest held in Brussels’ Place de la Monnaie on April 17, where numerous Belgian organizations joined together to take the streets to call for freedom for Palestinian political prisoners. “Liberez-les prisonniers palestiniens!” rang out in the plaza as speakers and activists came together to demand freedom for all Palestinian political prisoners.