8 November, 2022
On Tuesday, November 8, Aida camp residents celebrated the release of Samir al-Amir after 19 years in Israeli prison. Samir was a volunteer at Lajee in his early twenties. He was arrested on 9 November 2003 at the age of 21. He completed two bachelors degrees while in prison – international relations and social studies.
A large crowd celebrated Samir’s return to the camp, as is custom when political prisoners are released after long detentions. A procession accompanied Samir from the edge of town to the camp, where there were numerous speeches and also a performance by a singer.
Israeli detention of political prisoners is a major human rights issue in Palestine. According to Palestinian prisoner’s rights organization Addameer, there are a total of 4700 political prisoners in Israeli prisons, including 800 administrative detainees, 190 child prisoners, and 30 women. Additionally, Israel has held captive over 105 bodies of deceased Palestinians since 2015 and over 250 bodies of deceased Palestinians are thought to be in so-called “cemeteries of numbers,” where graves are marked by numbers instead of names. These practices deny Palestinians their right to honor their dead by laying them to rest. Families recently demonstrated to demand that the International Committee of the Red Cross pressure the Israeli authorities to release their loved ones held in morgues and numbered graves.