Female prisoners on hunger strike over exchange deal

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Five female prisoners at Israel's Hasharon jail started a hunger strike on Wednesday in protest against not being included in the prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas.

A report by the Palestinian Authority ministry of prisoners affairs noted that detainees were deeply disappointed after finding out they were not included in phase two of the swap.

“They felt betrayed because Hamas did not live up to their promises to release all female prisoners,” prisoners affairs lawyer Shireen Iraqi said.

According to Iraqi, the five female prisoners had originally started a hunger strike on Dec. 13. As a result, prison wardens ransacked their rooms and removed all electric devices as punishment.

Six women were among the 550 detainees released in phase two of the prisoner exchange deal on Sunday. There were a total of 11 female detainees in Israeli jails, Riyad al-Ashqar, media director in Gaza's Ministry of Prisoners, had said at the time of the swap.

Five women remain imprisoned. They are: Lina Jarbouni, serving 18 months, Salwa Salah from Hebron, who has not been sentenced yet, Woroud Qasim, serving 4 years, Walaa al-Jaabari from Hebron, not sentenced yet, and Khadija Abu Ayyash, serving four years.

While many of the 450 prisoners freed on Oct. 18 in the first phase of the Egyptian-brokered prisoner swap were serving life sentences for deadly attacks, none in the second group was convicted of killings.


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