Women's Organization for Political Prisoners (WOFPP)

The International Day Against Violence Against Women

On 25 November 2007 on the occasion of the International Day Against Violence Against Women, "Assiwar- – the feminist Arab movement in support of victims of sexual abuse" with WOFPP organized an evening of solidarity with the Palestinian women political prisoners in Assiwar place in Haifa.

Assiwar's press release

30 November 2007: On the International Day Against Violence Against Women: Discussion in the club of Assiwar Association in Haifa about the political women prisoners.

On Sunday, 25 November 2007, at the occasion of the International Day Against Violence Against Women, Assiwar Association together with Women's Organization for Political Prisoners organized a discussion about The Palestinian Political Women Prisoners. The discussion took place in the club of Assiwar Association in Haifa, with the participation of political and feminist activists.

The discussion was opened by Ms. Najla 'Athamna, head of Assiwar Association board. She stressed the importance of the Day against Violence Against Women and added that on this day we shall try to shed light on the topic of Palestinian Political Women Prisoners, taking into consideration that – in spite of its importance - the Palestinian Political Prisoners in general, and the women among them in particular, do not get the attention and the support they deserve - on the national as well as on the international level. Therefore, it is our duty to act. As we, the members of Assiwar, consider the feminist organizations to be liberation organizations in all areas – social, economical, political and class-related – and as we do not believe that the question of woman's liberation can be disconnected from the social, political and patriotic questions, and as we consider the struggle of the prisoners to be a struggle for liberation, it is our moral duty to support them.

One of the participants in the discussion was Ms. Sahar 'Abdu of Jeel elJadid (the new generation) Association who had been detained for 28 days. She talked about her experience during the detention, about having been a victim of a humiliating body search; about having been detained in a locked, cold and damp room with the cold air conditioning on at the height of winter; she was prevented from taking a shower and from meeting her lawyer. She talked about the mental suffering she endured, especially the concern for her mother.

The speaker after her was Mr. Tareq Muna, the brother of the political prisoner Amneh Muna who had been arrested and accused of the kidnapping of an Israeli youth and sentenced to life imprisonment. Mr. Muna spoke about the suffering his sister has to endure, though she remains strong; about, from time to time, being prevented from meeting her family – the longest period of visit denial lasted for 16 months; about her being separated from the other political prisoners and being kept with criminal prisoners; and finally, about how - due to her leader personality - she was held in solitary confinement and detained for over a year in full isolation. He talked about the hunger strike that she started as a protest against her isolation, which caused her serious health problems, a fact that was confirmed by lawyer Taghreed Jahshan who talked about her last visit to Amneh Muna, when she realized how much Amneh's physical condition had deteriorated as a result of the hunger strike, of the very bad conditions of her detention and of the isolation. She added that Amneh is detained at present in the hospital of Ramle Prison.

Lawyer Taghreed Jahshan, the representative of Women's Organization for Political Prisoners, spoke about the activities of this organization that assists the prisoners in obtaining their rights in prison; she revealed a few facts about the 90 prisoners, among them prisoners from the 1948 territories. She gave some examples of violations of the prisoners' rights: denial of family visits, interference with lawyers' visits; she talked about the efforts of the prison authorities towards preventing her visits to Amneh Muna, for example telling her that the prisoner did not want to meet her, which was an outright lie. She also spoke about the case of prisoners who had been prevented from studying, which had them turn to the Association for Civil Rights to submit an appeal against the Prison Authorities.