Monday, April 2, 2012

Israel puts Fatah's Marwan Barghouti in solitary confinement

Jailed Palestinian punished over statement calling for 'large-scale popular resistance', Monday 2 April 2012

"Israel has placed a high-profile Palestinian prisoner in solitary confinement for a week after he called for a new wave of civil resistance, the Prisons Authority said on Monday.

Marwan Barghouti, sentenced to life imprisonment in 2004 after being convicted of multiple lethal attacks against Israelis, is seen by many Palestinians as a possible future leader and was a driving force in the uprising launched in 2000.

Last week, he said in a statement from prison that "the launch of large-scale popular resistance at this stage serves the cause of our people". He also said the prospect of ending Israeli occupation and achieving a state through negotiations was an illusion.

Prisons Authority spokeswoman Sivan Weizman said Barghouti "has been placed in isolation for a week and denied visits and access to the inmates' canteen for a month" as a punishment for issuing the statement.

Barghouti's views continue to resonate with the Palestinian public from prison. The 52-year-old is a leading member of Fatah but enjoys support beyond his movement and across the spectrum of Palestinian factions.

Observers have speculated that Israel might at some point release Barghouti to strengthen the hold of the more secular Fatah movement on the Palestinian political scene and stem the popularity of Islamist Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip."

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