June 17, 2009
Protests and demonstrations took place throughout Palestine and the Arab world in solidarity with imprisoned PFLP General Secretary, Ahmad Sa’adat, following his nine-day hunger strike against the occupation prison authorities’ denial of prisoners’ rights and policy of isolation.
Sa’adat was kidnapped in 2006 from a Palestinian Authority prison where he had been illegitimately held under PA, British and US guard since 2002, and was since sentenced to 30 years in prison in an illegitimate Israeli military court. He is a leader of the prisoner movement and a national leader of the Palestinian people and his actions have inspired solidarity around the world.
A protest was held on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Beirut in solidarity with Ahmad Sa’adat.
Palestinian and Lebanese parties and forces participated in the protest as did a crowd of supporters, addressed by several speakers. The President of the Khiam Centre for the care and rehabilitation of victims of torture, spoke, calling upon the institutions of the international community and human rights agencies to intervene promptly to end the criminal Zionist violations of the rights of the over 11,000 Palestinian prisoners. The chair of the committee for Lebanese prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons spoke as well, stressing upon the right of the Palestinian peoplee to resist occupation as well as the urgent need for the international community to act to stop Zionist racism and oppression against the Palestinian people.
Marwan Abdel Al, a member of the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation, demanded that the ICRC act immediately and urgently to stop the policy of violation of prisoners’ rights and harsh punishments by the occupation against Palestinian prisoners. He also stressed upon the need for national unity to support the prisoners and build a massive popular movement in support of the prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons.
A protest in solidarity with Comrade Leader Sa’adat took place outside the headquarters of the ICRC in Qalqilya on June 15, 2009. It raised slogans against the occupation’s policies of torture and in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners, declaring that the use of solitary confinement and isolation in an attempt to weaken the steadfastness of the prisoners and detainees would fail.
The protesters presented a letter to the ICRC calling upon it to act against the occupation authorities to protect the life of Comrade Sa’adat, declaring the occupation responsible for his life and the life of all the prisoners, and calling for it to force the occupation to respect Palestinian prisoners’ rights, declaring that abuse of the prisoners should be considered a war crime. The protest concluded with a call for the freedom of all of the prisoners and detainees in the Zionist jails.
Leftist youth, student activists and Popular Unity Party members protested on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 in solidarity withAhmad Sa’adat and his hunger strike against the “fascist Israeli practices against Palestinian prisoners,” according to the protestors’ statement. The protest included dozens of young people carrying images of Sa’adat as well as other leading prisoners in the Zionist jails, including Marwan Barghouthi, Fateh leader, and Aziz Dweik, Hamas leader and head of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
The protest was originally scheduled to take place at the UN office in Amman but was moved after Jordanian authorities threatened to prevent the protest by force. The protesters chanted against the fascist Israeli policies and sent a message to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon calling upon him to denounce and reject Zionist occupation practices against the Palestinian prisoners. It called upon the UN to investigate and act upon the case of Palestinian prisoners and seek to end their suffering as a result of Zionist crimes.
The Prisoners’ Support committee of the PFLP and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees organized a protest in Nablus on June 17, 2009 in front of the ICRC headquarters in support of Ahmad Sa’adat. Hundreds of families of prisoners and representatives of all factions participated in the protest, carrying the Palestinian flags, banners, and pictures of Sa’adat. The protesters called upon the Palestinian Authority and human rights organizations to act in solidarity with Sa’adat and demand he receive appropriate medical care and his isolation ended.
A rally took place in front of the ICRC headquarters in Tripoli in solidarity with Ahmad Sa’adat on June 16, 2009.
Speakers denounced the occupation’s policies of isolation and injustice against the movement of Palestinian prisoners and called upon the ICRC and all international institutions to uphold their responsibilities to protct Palestinian prisoners and to act to pressure the Zionist regime to end these practices.
The protesters called for the freedom of the prisoners and noted that their treatment is against all international law and norms for prisoner conditions.
A large sit-in and demonstration was organized in Gaza City on June 15, 2009, in solidarity with Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian prisoners. The protest, outside the Gaza offices of the ICRC, was attended by many leaders of Islamic and national groups, as well as families of the prisoners.
On Monday, June 15, 2009, the PFLP in Ramallah, along with popular organizations in support of prisoners, held a protest and sit-in in front of the ICRC building in Ramallah.
The protestors spoke against the use of the isolation policy in an attempt to break the prisoners’ steadfastness and called for the utmost of solidarity with comrade Sa’adat and his steadfastness, and the struggle of all of the prisoners for freedom.
The protesters called upon all national forces to put the file of the prisoners at the highest priority and to demand their immediate release without restriction.