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RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The wife of a Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody gave birth to a baby boy on Saturday after being artificially inseminated from her husband's smuggled sperm, a rights group said.

Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights said in a statement that the wife of Nabil Maslama gave birth at al-Ahli hospital in Hebron.

Maslama, who has spent 15 years in Israeli custody, smuggled his sperm from prison two years ago, and artificial insemination succeeded in a second attempt at Razan Medical Center for Infertility and In Vitro Fertilization in Nablus, the statement said.

Forty-six-year-old Masalma is serving a 23-year sentence in Ketziot prison in the Negev desert. He has a 16-year-old son and a 15-year-old daughter.

Ahrar also reported on Saturday that a Palestinian woman had given birth to twins in Arab Specialized Hospital in Nablus after her husband had smuggled his sperm from Israeli prison.

Denied conjugal visits by the Israeli Prison Service, Palestinian prisoners who seek to have children have in recent years been sneaking sperm from their cells to their wives in the West Bank and Gaza.

There have been at least 19 cases of childbirth from sperm smuggled from Israeli jails -- 17 of them in the West Bank and two of them in Gaza, according to Ahrar.

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