Prisoner Embraces Freedom After 21 Years


On Sunday evening, September 24th, 2023, a Palestinian family was decorating their house and preparing Palestinian traditional food in honour of the long-awaited moments they have been looking for 21 years.

Palestinian mothers wore traditional embroidery dresses, the flags of Palestine were installed at walls and electricity polls, and nieces and nephews who farewelled their uncle as kids have become as taller as trees, gathering all to cherish their prisoner’s freedom.

51-year-old Palestinian Ashraf Safadi, from the town of Awarta, south of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, has embraced freedom after spending 21 years in Israeli Negev prisons, where he faced various colours of torture and ban on family visits.

“We were allowed to shortly visit him after around 10 years,” Asharaf’s aunt said in an interview.

At the Dahariya Israeli checkpoint, south of Hebron, Ashraf Safadi was welcomed with a wedding-like ceremony and loud national anthems celebrated by his relatives and friends.

“Since he stepped out of the Negev prison, I embellished my hands with Hannah- a traditional material Palestinian women use to dye their hands with as a sign of celebration- Asharaf’s aunt delightfully said.

Al-Safadi is the father of a ten-year-old child who was brought to life through smuggling sperms from Israeli prisons. When Al-Safadi was arrested by Israeli forces he was married for only 15 days.

Palestinian detainees resort to conception through smuggled sperm as the only means available to those held in lengthy or indefinite prison terms.

Defying Israeli occupation, 122 Palestinian children have been born to parents inside Israeli jails over the last 10 years, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

In August 2012, Ammar al-Zaban became the first Palestinian prisoner known to have fathered a child with his wife using smuggled sperm.

In 2023, Ahmed Shamali, a Palestinian prisoner from Gaza who has been in Israeli jails for 15 years and has 3 years left until his release, fathered quadruplets through smuggled sperm.

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