Gaza Families Visit Prisoners For First Time Since 2007
Author: alayyam Posted July 19, 2012
The wife of Mohammed Nachbat, a prisoner from the Breij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, got to talk to her husband from behind a glass window in Raymond prison, after not having seen him for eight years.
“Time passed so quickly, and was punctuated by tears of joy,” Nachabt said from her house in the Breij refugee camp. Israeli authorities allowed her and the relatives of 40 other prisoners to visit their family members in the prison.
She added that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provided them with buses to pass through the Beit Hanoun crossing, where they were searched for an hour before continuing into the Raymond prison.
She said that special procedures were taken by the prison administration at the gate, and the visitors were divided into two groups. Tears began to fall as they saw their imprisoned relatives — whose morale was high — from behind the glass window.
While emotions were clear, the voices over the phones that linked both sides of the glass window were not. Nachbat said that she did not feel the time pass.
Nachbat’s wife said that in the 45-minute visit, she tried to summarize what had happened over the previous eight years. Israel had during this time prevented the family from seeing the prisoner.
She said that the prisoners were in good spirits and excited to see their relatives and ensure them that they are doing well.
Israeli forces arrested Nachbat 22 years ago and sentenced him to 25 years in prison. Since then, he has spent his time in different prisons. Nachbat’s many sons miss him constantly.
The sons, like the sons of other prisoners, were not allowed in. The occupation forces allowed only the prisoners’ fathers, mothers or wives to visit them.
Nachbat’s wife said that on their way back, the visitors exchanged stories about what happened with their sons and husbands. She emphasized that they all felt happy and hoped that they could see their husbands and sons in prison again as soon as possible.
She said that their way back was very easy, although they were searched in a similar manner as they passed through the Erez crossing to return home.
The occupation forces banned prison visits in 2007. According to the ICRC, this was the first time that Gaza Strip residents have been allowed to visit their incarcerated relatives since then.
A second round of family visits to the Nafha prison is scheduled for Monday, July 23, according to sources inside the prison. The families of 50 prisoners from the Gaza Strip will be allowed to visit, they said. The prisoners’ names were not revealed.
Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2012/07/in-the-first-visit-since-several.html