Palestinian prisoners’ movement leaders under attack: Interrogation and isolation of Wael Jaghoub, Yaqoub Qadri, Nael Barghouthi

Palestinian prisoners are continuing to confront new repressive attacks inside the occupation prisons, amid a growing uprising against administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. On Monday, 31 July, occupation forces stormed the rooms of Palestinian prisoners in Gilboa prison, and attacked leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, including Wael Jaghoub, Nader Sadaqa, Hikmat Abdel-Jalil and Ahmad al-Ardah, all of whom were taken to interrogation.

Wael Jaghoub was then transferred to isolation in Salmoun prison. On Thursday, 3 August, these repressive actions continued with Yasar Shtayyeh, Thaer Hanani, Mohammed Tabanja, Mahmoud Nairat and Mohammed Obeidat all being suddenly transferred to interrogation.

Next, on Tuesday, 1 August, occupation forces invaded the room of Nael Barghouthi, the longest-held Palestinian prisoner in total number of years served, and transferred him to the Jalameh interrogation center. He was previously denied visits from his wife and sister. Barghouthi has been imprisoned since 1978 and was repeatedly denied release until 2011, when he was liberated in the Wafaa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange. After his release, he married fellow former prisoner Iman Nafeh. On 18 June 2014, he was seized by occupation forces, who then reimposed his former sentence, along with dozens of Palestinians freed in the exchange.

On Monday, 7 August, Yaqoub Qadri, one of the six Freedom Tunnel prisoners, who liberated themselves from Gilboa prison in September 2021, was transferred from isolation in Megiddo prison to isolation in Ohli Kedar prison. All six prisoners — Qadri, Mahmoud al-Ardah, Mohammed al-Ardah, Ayham Kamamji, Munadel Nafa’at and Zakaria Zubaidi — have been subjected to constant isolation and frequent transfers since they were rearrested, and their fellow prisoners have conducted several protest actions and steps of struggle to defend them. Their isolation cells lack necessities of life and their ongoing isolation and transfer is targeting them physically and psychologically.

The PFLP prisoners announced on Sunday, 6 August that they would begin protest actions to demand Jaghoub’s release from isolation. Jaghoub, who has been a prominent leader in several collective hunger strikes and protest movements inside the Zionist prisons, has been repeatedly held in isolation during his years in prisons. They announced that beginning on Tuesday, 8 August, they would refuse to participate in roll call and wear prison uniforms to make it clear that they are ready to escalate their steps of confrontation.

Born in 1976 in Beita, south of Nablus, Wael Jaghoub was first arrested in 1992. He has been jailed since 1 May 2001 and is sentenced to life imprisonment. Formerly the head of the PFLP prison branch, he is considered one of the leaders of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest condemnation of the ongoing policy of isolation, raids and attacks directed against the Palestinian prisoners. As in these three cases — those of Wael Jaghoub, Nael Barghouthi and Yaqoub Qadri — these attacks are intended to target the leaders of the Palestinian resistance and revolutionary movement behind bars, the Palestinian prisoners’ movement. We urge Palestinian communities and supporters of Palestine around the world to highlight these leaders targeted for isolation and repression and make clear that we will never allow these leaders — leaders of our international liberation movements — to be isolated, despite the walls and iron bars of Zionist prisons. Instead, we pledge to organize and struggle for their freedom, the freedom of all Palestinian prisoners, and the freedom of Palestine, from the river to the sea.  


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