140 Palestinian inmates infected with COVID-19 in Israeli jail: official
140 Palestinian inmates in Israeli jails have reportedly been infected with the new coronavirus, Palestinian official has announced.
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In an interview with Voice of Palestine radio, which was released on Sunday, Hasan Abed Rabbo said the number of Palestinian detainees contracting coronavirus infection pertains to the period since early March this year, when the outbreak started in the occupied territories.
The Palestinian official called on international human rights organizations to intervene to save the lives of Palestinian prisoners at such critical juncture.
The international community should bear responsibility under the Fourth Geneva Convention to pressure the Israeli occupation to ensure the health, wellbeing and safety of the Palestinian prisoners, WAFA News Agency quoted him as saying.
The Palestinian official's remarks came over a month after the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) put the coronavirus infections among Palestinian inmates at 123. The PPS also expressed grave concern over the health condition of the prisoners.
The regime in Tel Aviv has an infamous “administrative detention” system, under which it imprisons Palestinians without trial or charge. Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.
Israel is also notorious for detaining minors for long periods of time.
In another report last month, the PPS said the Israeli regime had detained at least 400 Palestinian children in the first 10 months of the current year. “The Israeli authorities continue to hold 170 Palestinian children in their prisons,” read the report, which was issued on November 19.
This is while 2020 has been described as “the worst year for Palestinian prisoners” in Israeli prisons, owning to the regime’s intensified violations of the prisoners’ rights and the spread of COVID-19 in Israeli jails.
“The year 2020 is the worst year for Palestinian prisoners. The prison administration raids and attacks detainees’ sections almost every day,” Qadri Abu Bakr, chairman of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, told Anadolu Agency earlier this month.
Pointing to the high number of COVID-19 cases in Gilboa Prison in northern Israel, he said Israel does not care about the lives of the prisoners and does not take protective measures.
In yet another flagrant violation of Palestinian prisoners’ rights, the Israeli Supreme Court on July 23 rejected a petition to implement COVID-19 protective guidelines for inmates at Gilboa prison and ruled that Palestinian prisoners have no right to social distancing protection against the deadly virus.
“[The ruling] flies in the face of health and human rights professionals around the world who have called for social distancing within prisons, and leaves Palestinians held by Israel exposed to the virus with no option to protect themselves,” said Myssana Morany, an attorney for the Adalah legal center for minority rights, which made the petition.