Message from the organisers of the Global Political Prisoner’s Day:
Palestinian cartoonist Naji Salim al-Ali’s Handala.
The people’s uprising is not a crime, it is universal justice
The unions, human rights activists, academics and students of Argentina have united with various groups worldwide, including Palestinian human rights organisations, (such as the Free Shireen Issawi Campaign) to call for a day of action for Global Political Prisoner’s Day, on 12 December 2014.
On this day in 2013 ten Argentinian oil workers were convicted to prison sentences in a case, their supporters affirm, was a grave violation of human rights, including torture. The oil workers stood up for all workers to have better working conditions, setting up assemblies to decide how to fight.
Today Palestinians are imprisoned for challenging Israel’s apartheid state. They are imprisoned because they fight for the return of their stolen land which continues to be illegal annexed.
Palestinians, including children, are tried in military courts. The conviction rate, according to a 2013 US State Department Human Rights Report, is over 99%. Since 1967 700,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned; 42% of all Palestinian men have been jailed. Israel also practices Administrative Detention, imprisoning Palestinians without charge or trial in violation of international law. Many prisoners suffer from medical neglect.
On Wednesday 5 November a French Court rejected the ninth appeal of George Abdhala, who after 30 years imprisonment is the longest serving Political prisoner in Europe. The decision was not issued by the court but was announced by the Federation of Jewish organisations in France. Governmental political convenience also allows cleared prisoners to languish in Guantanamo Bay.
In Egypt thousands of political opponents have been imprisoned, some have been tortured to death. Three Al Jazeera journalists have also been detained. China is thought to have the most political prisoners in the world. In Tibet and East Turkestan people are arrested for peaceful protests. Worldwide people, too numerous to mention, risk their lives for the ideal of freedom, democracy and social and political justice.
People exercising their legal right to resist occupation, or who resort to democratic violence having exhausted all peaceful means, are political prisoners. They should therefore be treated with all the conventions and rights applicable to prisoners of war. There have always been some brave men and women who are prepared to risk their lives and liberty for their people’s freedom. It is unacceptable that those people should be detained without trail, kept in inhumane conditions and face torture or medical neglect.
We start this campaign for the independence and freedom of all oppressed people against those who disregard human value, rights and liberty. We call upon all who reject injustice in the world to participate on the 12 December, making it a day for political prisoners. We are aware that each country or organisation will have particular causes to which they are dedicated. They will bring their energies and resources to that cause but ideally will remain aware that an injury to one is an injury to all. We intend that this day will become an annual event until all prisoners are freedom.
Our message is:
- Global Political Prisoners Day must become an annual tradition to call for the release of all political prisoners until freedom.
- The international struggle for oppressed peoples everywhere should be enhanced. The people’s uprising is not a crime, it is universal justice
- People resisting the occupation of their land should be treated according to International conventions concerning prisoners of war when they are detained.