14th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People

Palestine, Rima. Lydia Rimawi (38) during the trip to visit her husband in prison with her son Majd (2) born through artificial insemination (IVF). She lives in West Bank village of Beit Rima. Lydia’s husband, AbdelKarim, has been arrested since June 2001 and sentenced to 25 years for involvement in the 2001 murder of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi. 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.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 07.2015
Date Uploaded: 11.2016
Photo Location: Ramallah, Palestine, State of
Camera: X-T1
Copyright: © Antonio Faccilongo