Israel moves senior Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti to Ofer Prison system

Middle East Monitor  /  September 5, 2023

The Israel Prison Service (IPS) yesterday transferred senior Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and scores of Palestinian prisoners to Ofer Prison, Al Watan Voice reported.

Barghouti has been in prison since 15 April 2002. He spent 12 years in solitary confinement, 18 years in Nafha Prison and is now in Ofer.

The IPS prevented Barghouti from accessing areas of the Nafha Prison in order to limit his interactions and therefore influence over other prisoners.

During his time in jail, Barghouti has taken part in several hunger strikes, and is the most popular Fatah leader, with his supporters believing that he is being detained with the consent of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority leadership.

A 2021 poll found that he is the most popular Palestinian leader, which means that he would stand a good chance of winning a presidential election.

Barghouti was born in 1959 in a neighbourhood east of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. He was detained for the first time in 1976, then again in 1978 and 1983.

Following his release from prison in 1983, he started his university education and was elected head of the student council for three years at Birzeit University.

Barghouti was detained again in 1984 and 1985, subjected to harsh conditions and then released under house arrest.

In 1986, he was chased by Israel, consequently fleeing the country, and in 1989, he was elected a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council.

Barghouti returned to the West Bank in 1994 and was elected Fatah’s secretary. In 1996, he was elected as a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). He was detained on 15 April 2002, and re-elected a PLC member in 2006.

In 2004, Barghouti was sentenced to five life terms and 40 years in prison.