Palestinian Political Prisoners Day
Develop people, not prisons!
#FreePalestinianPoliticalPrisoners #PalestinianPrisonersDay #FreeEmAll
Today, Monday April 17th, marks Palestinian Political Prisoners Day, a day where the Palestinian people and supporters of justice and liberation for Palestine all over the world express their support to Palestinian political prisoners and stand in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners of freedom.
In Palestine, political imprisonment is a central feature of Israeli Apartheid, with over 20% of Palestinians facing imprisonment in their lifetime. According to Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, there are currently 6,500 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, jails and detention centers, including approximately 500 children. These people are imprisoned under a separate and unequal set of laws, applicable only to Palestinians. These include administrative detention– a practice where Palestinians are held without trial, charges or conviction and prosecution in Israeli military courts– where 99% of cases end in a conviction. Furthermore, Israel is the only country in the world that prosecutes children in military courts and routinely imprison children as young as 12. These dehumanizing and illegal practices are meant to erode the Palestinian will to resist occupation and repress their struggle for freedom.
In the US, political repression and imprisonment are part of a larger system known as the prison industrial complex (PIC) which also includes, surveillance, policing, and sentencing. Though the context, names, and details may differ, these manifestations of the PIC in other countries are connected to the US PIC in aim and, often, in practice, as exemplified by the case of Rasmea Odeh. There are currently dozens of political prisoners incarcerated in the US for their political activism in the anti-imperialist struggles and liberation movements of racially oppressed groups during the 1960s and 1970s. Many of these freedom fighters have served over 40 years in prison, yet remain unapologetic in their commitment to the fight for racial, economic and social justice.
AROC’s understanding of the global nature of political imprisonment compels us to integrate an analysis of the PIC, in the US as well as other countries, into our work and to fight against its impacts in all the work that we do. AROC:
- Recognizes that forces involved in attempting to “normalize” the Israeli occupation of Palestine are also at work attempting to normalize the use of the prison industrial complex in the US for containing, repressing, and eliminating aspects of the communities in which Arab people and people of color live and work.
- Rejects imprisonment from the political imprisonment of Palestinians and other Arabs to the imprisonment of millions of poor people, people of color, and political dissidents in the United States.
- Stands in solidarity with political prisoners and all community members locked up in prisons and jails locally and internationally, and we invite our community to join the call to end impunity and to free all political prisoners!
Join us in a social media campaign called for by our friends at Addameer. Share this message widely on April 17th:
Palestinian Human Rights Defenders are #NotATarget #PalestinianPrisonersDay #FreeEmAll