14th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest
The life has stopped
The life has stopped, women awaits the return of the men, and they take care of all the objects of their husbands as if at any moment they return home.
This is the story of Palestinian prisoners’ wives who have turned to sperm smuggling in order to conceive children from their husbands who are serving long-term sentences. Around 7,000 Palestinians are serving time in Israeli prisons, with nearly 1,000 facing sentences of 20 years or more. Conjugal visits are denied and prisoners are separated from visitors by glass panels.
In the past two years, 30 babies have been born through IVF. The Razan Fertility Clinic in Nablus and the Al-Basma Fertility Clinic in Gaza offer the treatment to prisoners’ wives free of charge, freezing around 70 prisoners' sperm samples and receiving more from behind the prison bars. Prisoners are allowed visits every two weeks and these last for only 45 minutes. Family members must be first-degree relatives. After a thorough body search, visitors are able to talk to their loved ones through a telephone from behind a glass window. Physical contact is forbidden, except for prisoners’ children, who are allowed ten minutes at the end of each visit to embrace their fathers. This is the secret way prisoners’ sperm manages to leave the prisons, and is these women’s only hope for a family. It is also one of their opportunities to join the Palestinian resistance.
© Antonio Faccilongo.
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||Nov. 21, 2016, 6:34 a.m.