Palestinian Prisoners’ Day … Prisoners fight imprisonment and COVID-19

(photo: Addameer)
Friday, April 17, 2020 marks Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. This year, Palestinian prisoners and detainees face the additional threat of a COVID-19 outbreak in Israeli prisons and detention centers.

By Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association | Apr 16, 2020

According to Addameer’s statistics, the number of Palestinian prisoners at Israeli occupation prisoners reached around 5000 prisoners as of April 2020.

As we mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day this year, Palestinian prisoners and detainees face the additional threat of a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Israeli prisons and detention centers. The Israeli occupying authorities have taken no steps to release Palestinian prisoners and detainees or to adequately mitigate and prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in prisons. Instead, mass arbitrary detentions and arrests, a staple of Israel’s prolonged military occupation and widespread and systematic human rights violations against the Palestinian people, have continued during the pandemic. According to Addameer’s statistics, the number of Palestinian prisoners at Israeli occupation prisoners reached around 5000 prisoners as of April 2020. This number also included 432 administrative detainees, 41 female detainees, 7 PLC members and 183 child detainees among them 20 under the age of 16.

While persons deprived of their liberty around the world are more likely to be vulnerable to a COVID-19 outbreak than the general population, COVID-19 presents a particularly acute and immediate danger to Palestinian prisoners and detainees, who already endure dire detention conditions, including systematic torture and ill-treatment, pervasive medical negligence, overcrowding, lack of proper ventilation and access to sanitary products, including sanitizers and disinfectants, poor nutrition, and, in certain cases, complete bans on family visits. These conditions make Israeli prisons dangerous breeding grounds for COVID-19 and compound the vulnerability of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, with hundreds currently detained suffering from chronic diseases that go untreated. Despite the pandemic, the Israeli occupying forces continue to routinely arrest Palestinians from their homes in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and immediately place them in quarantine. In fact, since the beginning of the state of emergency due to COVID-19 in March, the Israeli occupation forces arrested 357 Palestinians including 48 children and 4 women.

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