Palestinian women hold pictures of incarcerated relatives during a demonstration in Gaza City in May
Palestinian women hold pictures of incarcerated relatives and flash the sign for victory during a sit-in demonstration in Gaza City in May 2012. Residents of the Gaza Strip will be able to begin visiting relatives held in Israeli prisons from Monday, a spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service told AFP on Thursday. © Mohammed Abed - AFP/File
Palestinian women hold pictures of incarcerated relatives during a demonstration in Gaza City in May
AFP
Last updated: July 13, 2012

Israel allows prison visits from Gaza relatives

Residents of the Gaza Strip will be able to begin visiting relatives held in Israeli prisons from Monday, a spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service told AFP on Thursday.

Sivan Weizman said the visits will be "a pilot, in which we will begin to examine how to implement (the visits from Gaza prisoner families), in coordination with all the elements."

A deal between Israel and some 1,550 Palestinians on hunger strike from May 14 included allowing prisoners visits from relatives living in the Islamist Hamas-ruled enclave, among other measures.

In return, prisoner leaders committed not to engage in militant activity inside jail and to refrain from future hunger strikes.

Weizman said the first stage of the implementation will include visits for 24 prisoners at Ramon prison near the southern desert town of Mitzpe Ramon, of approximately 50 people -- prisoner wives and parents.

She added that visits will take place once a week for the moment.

Amnesty International on Thursday issued a statement calling for the release of all administrative detainees held by Israel, "unless they are promptly charged with internationally recognisable criminal offences and brought to trial in proceedings that meet international fair trial standards."

One of the terms of the May agreement was that those held without trial in what Israel calls "administrative detention" would go free at the end of their current term unless fresh evidence emerged against them.

Administrative detention is a procedure that allows suspects to be held without charge for renewable periods of up to six months.

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