Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe

Johannesburg -

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has signed the Robben Island Declaration, calling on Israel to release jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti and other political prisoners.

He signed it in Joburg last week, a few days before the 12th anniversary of the incarceration of Barghouti on April 15, 2002, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said on Wednesday.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has also called for Barghouti’s release as a pre-condition for agreeing to the extension of peace talks with Israel.

The declaration was first signed on Robben Island by Kathrada, his fellow South African political prisoner Kwedie Mkalipi, and Barghouti’s wife Fadwa at last year’s launch of a global campaign for the Palestinian leader’s release.

The foundation’s director, Neeshan Balton, said the declaration would be sent to various political leaders in the hope that they would “take a moral stand in support of Palestinian political prisoners and against Israeli apartheid”.

It has been signed by international politicians, Nobel Peace Prize laureates, artists, intellectuals, human rights activists, former political prisoners and thousands of others from various countries.

Barghouti, 54, was sentenced to five life terms for his role in a series of deadly terrorist attacks against Israelis. - Independent Foreign Service

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