05/11/2017, 16.06
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Marwan Barghouti's wife writes to Pope Francis on Palestinian prisoners’ behalf

The letter was delivered to Church officials in Ramallah. Fadwa Barghouti asks the pope to intervene before “it is too late" to "save the lives of sons, husbands and fathers". The Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land issued an appeal. Israel announces that it will allow a Red Cross representative to meet Barghouti.

Ramallah (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Fadwa Barghouti, wife of Palestinian leader and prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti, has asked the pope to "speak up, because freedom and dignity are God-given rights" She made the appeal in a letter she delivered to Catholic Church officials in Ramallah.

The Palestinian leader has been on hunger strike since 17 April along with another 1,600 political prisoners in order to demand better conditions and visiting rights in Israeli jails.

In her letter, Fadwa Barghouti asks the pope to intervene "before it is too late" in order "to help save the lives of sons, husbands and fathers, to speak for the women and the children in Israeli prisons, to speak about this holy land that has been desecrated by occupation, discrimination, segregation and apartheid, while it needs to be a land of pluralism."

"Your call for respect of the rights of the Palestinian people, including the rights of our political prisoners, would allow the voice of those placed in isolation to reach the world," the letter says.

At noon today, West Bank, Palestinians shouted calls from mosques and rang church bells in support of the hunger-striking prisoners.

On 1st may, the Justice and Peace Commission of the Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land also issued a statement.

In it, the Catholic organisation called for “the application of international law with regard to political prisoners. It condemns the use of detention without trial, all forms of collective punishment, as well as the use of duress and torture for whatever reason.

“Furthermore, we can never forget that every prisoner is a human being and his God given dignity must be respected.” Hence, “We urge the Israeli Authorities to hear the cry of the prisoners, to respect their human dignity, and to open a new door towards the making of peace.”

Marwan Barghouti, considered by his supporters as the "Palestinian Mandela", has been in prison for 15 years and in isolation since the start of the strike. The European Parliament has called for his release because he can help in the peace process.

Yesterday, Israeli authorities announced that today a Red Cross representative would visit Barghouti, the first non-government official to see him. By contrast, the meeting with his lawyer, Khader Shakirat, has been postponed again.

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