Friday, October 31, 2008


One instantly-recognisable image, seen on walls all over Palestine, is that of Marwan Barghouti, his manacled hands held above his head in a gesture of defiance.  Widely regarded as a popular successor to Yasser Arafat, Barghouti was imprisoned by the Israelis on spurious charges in 2002. He was re-elected to the Palestinian Parliament in 2006 from his prison cell. 

An estimated 11,000 Palestinians languish in Israeli jails, including a number of elected parliamentarians.  They include women, children, sick and elderly.  Most of them are political prisoners - prisoners of conscience tried by military judges using archaic penal codes derived from Ottoman times or the pre-1948 British Administrative Detention system. These laws do not apply to citizens of Israel.  How's that for a healthy democracy?

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