On Thursday, 10 December, the International Women’s Alliance Europe (IWA Europe) organized the first session in a series of online events focusing on women political prisoners. This first event was organized together with Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and focused on Palestinian women detainees and prisoners, especially the case of Khitam Saafin, the Palestinian feminist leader – President of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees – jailed without charge or trial by Israeli occupation forces.
The event was hosted by Yasmin of IWA Europe and Charlotte Kates of Samidoun, who introduced several speakers, including Nikki of IWA, who presented about IWA’s work and the situation of political prisoners around the world. She also laid out action steps and encouraged participants to become involved in campaigns to support women prisoners.
Layla Rizeq spoke about the history of Palestinian women in the liberation struggle. Representing Alkarama Palestinian Women’s Mobilization, based in Spain, she addressed Zionist colonialism and its repression of Palestinian women as well as women’s involvement and leadership in different aspects of the Palestinian movement.
She was followed by Hadeel Shatara, coordinator of the Samidoun Network in occupied Palestine, who discussed the situation of Palestinian women in Israeli prisons today. She noted several specific cases, including the attacks upon and imprisonment of Palestinian women students and the imprisonment of Khitam Saafin, under administrative detention without charge or trial.
Dr. Nahla Abdo, professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and the author of Captive Revolution, on Palestinian women detainees and their experiences, views and histories of struggle, discussed imprisoned women’s perception of their experiences of torture, organizing and continued movement. She discussed aspects of torture and repression used by Israel, including the use of the “bosta” to transfer detained women in a deliberately physically and psychologically abusive process.
In conclusion, organizers announced upcoming events, including the online events on 12 December and 18 December with Mays Abu Ghosh, Samah Jaradat, Dr Widad Barghouthi (12 Dec.) and Yafa Jarrar (18 Dec.) IWA organizers also announced upcoming events on the second Thursday of each month in 2021, including events on 14 January on Filipino women political prisoners and 11 February on Kurdish women political prisoners.