Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS) today launched a petition calling for international intervention to secure the release of Palestinian detainees from Israeli prisons over fears of novel coronavirus spread.
PPS and several other institutions co-launched the petition which calls for the immediate release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including elderly, female and minor prisoners and some 35 others suffering from critical illness, over fears of coronavirus spread and the absence of Israeli Prison Service (IPS) health measures to protect them from the pandemic.
PPS elaborated that the petition was motivated by concerns about the fate of Palestinian prisoners following the Israeli Prison Service’s failure to take any concrete measures to protect them against coronavirus risk, such as reducing overcrowding and halting families and attorneys’ visits.
IPS failure to protect the imminent spread of the virus among prisoners is also manifest in the failure to sterilize of prisons, sections, and cells on a constant basis, supply prisoners with hygiene necessities, such as detergents, sterilizers, and disinfectants.
Among the demands listed in the petition was urging the International Committee of the Red Cross to assume its responsibility and increase the number of its staff in light of the the insufficiency of their number in the occupied territories necessary to follow-up on prisoners’ issues, particularly during the state of emergency in the wake of the coronavirus spread.
Two Israeli policemen in the Israeli Ofer prison and another in the Nitzan prison were recently infected with COVID-19, a situation which portends a real disaster for over 5,000 Palestinian prisoners, including 180 children, 700 patients, 41 female prisoners and dozens of elderly prisoners, in 23 Israeli jails and detention centers.
More than 4,800 cases of infection and 17 deaths have been reported in Israel, and 117 cases and one death in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Around 5,700 Palestinians, including numerous women and children, are currently detained in Israeli prisons.
Israel’s widely condemned policy of administrative detention allows detention of Palestinians without charge or trial for renewable intervals usually ranging between three and six months based on undisclosed evidence that even a detainee’s lawyer is barred from viewing.