Celebration of a Prisoner Release

31 October 2012

More than 40% of the male population of Palestine has been or is still detained by the Israeli occupation forces, thus it is easy to understand that the celebrations of the prison releases are an important part of the Palestinian social life. Support and solidarity are shown to the released prisoners and the celebrations encourage people to continue their struggle for a free Palestine.

On Sunday 28th of October Emad Ahmed Khalil Abu Hashem (23) was released after six and a half months in Israeli prisons. The Israeli occupation forces arrested him by the entrance of Beit Ommar on the Palestinian Prisoners’ Day the 17th of April. This day Palestinians show their support and solidarity with men and women in Israeli prisons.

Emad who is married and a father of Zeedra (2) and Yousef (8 months) was arrested shortly after his youngest child was born. His family was not allowed to visit him while he was in prison, and therefore he had not seen his wife and children for more than six months.

On Sunday all his family, friends, relatives and neighbors gathered to honor and welcome him back home. As usual on these celebrations there was a parade arranged around the village of Beit Ommar with cars horning, Arabic music, chants and smiles from everybody present. People marched with big Palestinian flags and fireworks were added to the celebration.

The hero of the day was carried on the shoulders of a friend during the whole parade, which went towards the Abu Hashem family home. Emad’s face lightened up when he could finally see his 8 month old son. When they entered the court yard Emad could see his mother, Hamda Abu Hashem, and he gave her a good, long hug.

Emad gets a warm welcome from his mother

Emad’s mother, Hamda, was very pleased to have her son back home but at the same time she pointed out that one of her sons still is imprisoned. Sixteen-year-old Mohammed was arrested a month ago. He is awaiting his trial which has already been postponed four times. The trial is now scheduled for 4th of December.

The Abu Hashem family is one of the targeted families in Beit Ommar. They are activists resisting the occupation and for their struggle both the father, Ahmed, and five of his six sons have been in Israeli prisons multiple times. In the beginning for October this year three out of six sons were in prison at the same time, including a 14 year old child.

The visits and greeting to the former prisoner lasted from the afternoon until late in the evening.