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UN ‘concerned’ about jailed Palestinian hunger-strikers

JERUSALEM: A UN official expressed concern about the well being of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons and in particular about the condition of hunger striker Samer Issawi.
A UN statement said that Humanitarian Coordinator James W. Rawley met in Ramallah with Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe, where Rawley “expressed the UN continued concern about Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody.”
“They discussed the situation of four Palestinian detainees currently on hunger strike and, in particular, the critical health condition of one Palestinian detainee, Samer Issawi, who has been on hunger strike for more than 200 days,” it said.
Palestinian prisoner support group Adameer says six prisoners held by Israel are currently on hunger strike. The longest serving are Issawi and Ayman Sharawneh who have been fasting for months to demand their release from imprisonment without trial.
Under what Israel calls “administrative detention,” suspects can be imprisoned without trial by order of a military court. The order can be renewed indefinitely for six months at a time. Rawley called for an end to the practice. “The Humanitarian Coordinator reiterated the position of the UN secretary-general, namely that those detained should be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees in accordance with international standards, or released without delay,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, suspected Jewish extremists scrawled anti-Arab graffiti on the headstones in an ancient Muslim cemetery in west Jerusalem, police and witnesses said yesterday.
“The words ‘price tag’ and Stars of David were scrawled on around a dozen tombs in the Muslim cemetery in Mamilla in central Jerusalem,” a police spokeswoman told AFP, saying an inquiry had been opened.
Price tag is a euphemism for hate crimes carried out by Israeli extremists who generally target Palestinians or Arabs and their property.

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