Palestinians march to back hunger strike

Feb. 21, 2013 at 12:42 PM
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BEITOUNIA, West Bank, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Palestinians gathered in the West Bank town of Beitounia Thursday to march to Israel's Ofer military prison to show support for prisoner hunger strikes.

Witnesses said clashes erupted between Palestinian youth and Israeli troops ahead of the protest march, with two journalist injured in the confrontations, Israeli broadcaster Arutz Sheva reported.

Demonstrators said they were protesting to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails who are on a hunger strike.

Sheik Raed Salah, leader of the northern branch of Israel's Islamic Movement, said Wednesday he would join the hunger strikers as a show of support, Haaretz reported.

Israel's High Court of Justice Wednesday declined to hear a petition from Ayman Sharawna one of the inmates participating in the hunger strike. He is a Palestinian prisoner released by Israel in the prisoner exchange with Hamas that freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, but he was re-arrested under Israeli military law allowing Israel to re-incarcerate prisoners freed in the swap so they can complete their full prison term, Haaretz said.

Sharawna had served 10 years of a 38-year sentence when the exchange took place. His petition sought to void provisions in the law allowing for his re-arrest year.

Sharawna's attorneys argued that the lower military courts, the military prosecutor's office and the military advocate general have said they don't have the authority to change the order. Justices declined to hear the review, agreeing with prosecutors that the High Court should not visit the issue before lower military courts hear it, Haaretz said.

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