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Palestinian women prisoners call for solidarity actions after brutal attacks

PALESTINIAN women held as political prisoners by Israel appealed today for solidarity action in defence of their rights in the face of attacks by their jailers.

They have been resisting brutality by prison guards, including beatings and having their hijabs torn from their heads.

On Sunday, women held in Damon prison were attacked after they refused to line up for security checks, banging on their cell doors in protest at their representatives being held in isolation.

Electricity was cut off in their prison wing while guards threatened them with tear gas. Prisoners’ rights groups alleged that one of the detainees had lost consciousness during the attack.

However, the women’s resistance won a victory when their elected representatives Mona Qaadan and Shorouq Dwayyat were returned to Damon from the high-security Gilboa jail, where they were confined in isolation.

Marah Bakir is also set to be returned from the Jalameh interrogation centre.

The women prisoners are continuing to press for the resumption of family visits, which have been banned for the past three months, along with an end to violence by the guards.

They are also refusing meals in protest at the recent assaults.

Authorities have threatened to reclassify the women as civil prisoners, stripping them of their political status, but with fewer rights than their Israeli counterparts.

Palestinian lawyer Hanan al-Khatib said that the women remain in high spirits despite the oppressive conditions, which include denying them showers for three days.

“The women prisoners salute everyone who is standing with them. The support of the Palestinian people and communication with their families only increases their resolve and steadfastness,” she said.

Hamas condemned the prison authorities for attempting to cover up their “heinous crimes and ugly actions.”

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called for “a state of public alert” in support of the prisoners and appealed for protest actions.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network called for “the strongest campaign of international solidarity with these imprisoned Palestinian women, [who are] on the front lines in the struggle for justice and liberation in Palestine.”

It said that the International Committee of the Red Cross “has a responsibility to act to safeguard these Palestinian women prisoners — and all imprisoned Palestinians — from the retaliatory actions and collective punishment imposed by the Israeli occupation.”

A letter-writing campaign has been launched to press for action to secure the rights of the women prisoners, details of which can be found here.

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