Palestinians demand Red Cross protects prisoners
Palestinians across the West Bank took part in sit-ins held in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) premises on Tuesday in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners after reports emerged that the Gilboa escapees might have been subjected to torture during detention.
Earlier this month, six Palestinian prison breakers escaped Israel's high-security Gilboa prison, but all six were recaptured by Sunday.
Hundreds of Palestinians in the national sit-ins called on the ICRC to intervene and protect Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails - particularly the six prisoner escapees, who were reportedly subjected to severe torture after they were recaptured by Israel.
Protesters called on international institutions to pressure Israel to end its policy of administrative detention, and to work to save the lives of sick and hunger-striking prisoners in Israeli jails.
The sit-ins were organised by Palestinian national and Islamic factions and other groups involved in prisoners’ affairs, according to the Palestinian Authority's news agency, Wafa.
Israel launched a massive manhunt for the Palestinian jailbreakers upon their escape from Gilboa, using drones and road checkpoints, and pouring troops into the occupied West Bank.
Many Palestinians hailed the daring escape as a historic moment in the struggle for Palestinian liberation.
Lawyers for escapees Mohammed Al-Arda and Zakaria Al-Zubaidi, who were caught on 11 September, have claimed their clients had been tortured.
Reports from other prisoners’ rights groups said that all six have suffered from some form of torture and negligence at the hands of Israeli prison authorities.
Israel also took measures to punish other Palestinian prisoners and harass the families of the escapees as part of a manhunt, according to reports.
Since the breakout, Israel put prisons holding Palestinian detainees under lockdown, with some prisoners put in isolation and others barred from exercising in the prison yard.