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MEPs demand release of 45 Palestinian MPs

6 June, 2007

Bairbre de Brún MEP today joined 44 other MEPs from a range of political groups in the European Parliament to highlight the plight of the 45 Palestinian Members of Parliament who have been imprisoned by the Israeli authorities. The number of MEPs was chosen to represent the 45 Palestinian MPs who have been detained. The 45 MEPs have demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the Palestinian MPs, standing symbolically at the outset of the debate on the Middle East in the European Parliament. The debate was opened by Javier Solana, the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Speaking from Brussels Ms de Brún said:

"I have joined today with 44 fellow MEPs in the European Parliament to draw attention to the detentions of a third of the members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, alongside the detention of the President of the Legislative Council

"Detention of legislators, ministers and mayors, along with assassinations and other repressive measures used by the Israeli authorities are serious violations of human rights. They could also jeopardise the future of the national unity government and the possibility of renewed negotiations.

"The EU allocated considerable resources to help the Palestinians organise free and fair elections last year, yet this work is set at nought when the EU stands by and allows the detention of so many of those who were democratically elected. Palestine needs and deserves our support more than ever following the agreement at Mecca and the formation of a government of national unity.

"40 years on from the beginning of the Israeli occupation the EU should take a firm stand, recognising the national unity government, and encouraging the Israeli government to do likewise."

Notes to editor:

1. In January 2006 Bairbre de Brún MEP was an international observer to the Palestinian elections.

2. On Monday this week Ms de Brún joined MLAs at Stormont to meet the Patriarch of Jerusalem on his visit to Belfast.

3. The 45 MEPs joining this symbolic action are:
Adamou Adamos, Andria Alfonso, Aubert Marie-Hélène, Auken Margarete, Beer Angelika, Bourzai Bernadette, Bowis John, Brepoels Frieda, Carnero Gonzàlez Carlos, Cohn-Bendit Daniel, Davies Chris, de Brún Bairbre, De Keyser Véronique, Demetriou Panayiotis, De Rossa Proinsias, Evans Jill, Flautre Hélène, Gottardi Donata, Guerreiro Pedro, Hammerstein Mintz David, Isler-Béguin Marie-Anne, Kasoulides Ioannis, Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou Rodi, Locatelli Pia Elda, Lucas Caroline, Madeira Jamila, Matsakis Marios, McMillan-Scott Edward, Menendez Del Valle Emilio, Meyer Pleite Willy, Morgantini Luisa, Napoletano Pasqualina, Patrie Béatrice, Portas Miguel, Purvis John, Resetarits Karin, Romeva i Rueda Raül, Roure Martine, Saïfi Tokia, Savi Toomas, Sudre Margie, Svensson Eva-Britt, Toussas Georgios, Triantaphyllides Kyriacos, Wurtz Francis

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