Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

‘Fatah’ Urges ‘Hamas’ to Release Political Prisoners Before Elections

‘Fatah’ Urges ‘Hamas’ to Release Political Prisoners Before Elections

Thursday, 25 February, 2021 - 11:00
The meeting of the Palestinian factions in Cairo on Feb. 8. (AFP)

Member of Fatah's Central Committee Ahmed Helles has warned that the elections will be undermined if Hamas refuses to release the political detainees.

In comments to the Voice of Palestine radio station, he said the first test for practicing democracy is the release of all political prisoners, calling on Hamas to reconsider its position.

Helles further called on Hamas to act in favor of national interest, by releasing the detainees and moving towards elections without obstacles.

However, Hamas denied that it was holding political detainees.

All detainees and prisoners in Hamas prisons have been convicted of criminal or security offenses, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Interior said in a statement.

The statement came in response to Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh demand that Hamas release all political prisoners in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree ordering the respect of freedom of expression ahead of legislative elections in May, a step demanded by Palestinian factions who discussed the polls in Egypt-hosted talks this month.

Helles said that all the Palestinian factions welcomed the decree. But the statements made by Hamas reveal no intention to release the detainees.

Fatah's official called on rights organizations to play their part in bringing this matter to a closure.

In this context, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member Wasel Abu-Yousef called on Hamas to release the political detainees.

He urged adherence to the Palestinian President’s decree and the release of all political detainees to guarantee the success of elections.

Editor Picks