Sun Dec 04 14:19:10 SAST 2016

Ahmed Kathrada Foundation calls on Israel to release Palestinian detainee

TMG Digital | 2016-11-28 19:37:00.0
Former Rivonia trialist Ahmed Kathrada speaks at a church service in honour of former President Nelson Mandela on December 8, 2013 held at the Mandela Foundation, in Johannesburg.
Image by: Gallo Images/FOTO 24/Nicolene Olckers

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has called on Israel to release Palestinian activist Salah Khawaja who was arrested by Israeli forces in the Old City of Ramallah on October 26.

Khawaja is a member of the BDS Boycott National Committee (BNC) in Palestine and sits on its secretariat. The BNC is the coordinating body of the global BDS campaign. Khawaja also serves on the coordination committee of Stop the Wall.

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said on Monday that reports had come in that Khawaja has been subjected to almost non-stop interrogation for over two weeks‚ with his physical conditions indicating sleep deprivation‚ malnutrition and a general state of exhaustion.

“Arbitrary arrests like that of Comrade Khawaja by the Israeli Occupation Forces are an ordinary occurrence in the life of Palestinians. Israel is increasingly applying these apartheid tactics especially against human rights defenders like Khawaja.

“There are currently over 7‚000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention facilities. Over 400 of the prisoners are children. Some 700 prisoners are held in Administrative Detention similar to the notorious ‘detention without trial’ that was a hallmark of the South African apartheid regime’s tactics‚” the foundation charged.

It said that since Khawaja was captured‚ he has been held under interrogation in Petah Tikva and barred from speaking to his lawyer.

“He has been moved to the Ofar detention facility and his interrogation has been extended for another 9 days‚” it added.

The South African foundation said it strongly condemned the ongoing arbitrary arrests and torture of Palestinian political leaders‚ children and human rights defenders.

“It is unacceptable that Israel can continue to act with such utter impunity‚ complete disregard for human rights and in violation of international law‚” it asserted.

“We are calling for the immediate release of all political prisoners‚ and an intervention from the Government of South Africa by sending representatives to form part of the international observer groups at Comrade Khawaja's hearings‚” the foundation added.

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