COVID-19 threatens the lives of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails

Since the Coronavirus pandemic reached the occupied territories, the Israeli Prison Authority has been negligent in caring for prisoners inside its detention centers by providing the simplest preventive measures, which facilitated the arrival of the virus inside the departments after discovering the infection among a number of prisoners.

Yesterday morning, initial information arrived that a number of prisoners in the Israeli Gilboa prison had been infected with the Coronavirus, and samples taken from 70 prisoners revealed that they were infected with the virus after they complained of its symptoms during the previous two days.

According to statistics, the number of detainees who have contracted the virus has risen since the beginning of last April, to 101 prisoners, of whom two were revealed to be infected immediately after their release from the occupation prisons.

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The Israeli Prisons Authority also manipulates the way the examinations are conducted and the results announced, despite the demands of the human rights authorities concerned with prisoners' affairs under the supervision of the Red Cross over the process of taking samples and conducting the examinations.

It is noteworthy that the prisoners infected with the Coronavirus are in Section 3, and their number in the section is about (90) prisoners. Of those with high sentences, which confirms that the virus reached them by the jailers.

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Reckless policy

Amani Sarahna, the media official at the Prisoners Club, says that the situation in the Israeli Gilboa detention center is difficult, as the wounded prisoners had contact with other numbers of prisoners, but no checks have been made for the rest of those in contact with them until this moment, so the number is likely to increase.

“The number of infected people is a large number compared to the number of infected recorded in other detention centers,” she said, explaining that according to Gilboa detention, the infected were placed in isolation rooms so that the Israeli Prisons Authority used some departments as quarantine centers, but they lacked medical services.

She confirms that the Israeli Prison Authority’s negligence in providing preventive materials from the Coronavirus was evident, pointing out that the source of the virus in Gilboa Prison was among the jailers, especially as it housed those with high sentences and not the new detainees.

According to Sarahna, the Israeli Prison Authority conceals the infected among the prisoners and the information that the prisoner's club receives obtained through special means, indicating that the most that is allowed for the isolated prisoner is to make a call with his lawyer, after long and complicated procedures, while human rights organizations stand helpless to do anything.

The Ministry of Prisoners Affairs confirmed that there are great risks and fears threatening the lives of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails after the announcement of 11 prisoners being infected with the Coronavirus in Gilboa Prison, and it is feared that the numbers will be much greater and higher.

The ministry indicated in a statement that the Israeli occupation is still practicing a policy of recklessness and failure to take the necessary preventive measures to limit the spread of the virus inside prisons, and it is the party that monopolizes the announcement of the real number of infections and examinations, and there is a real fear that the numbers issued by the administration of the Prisons Authority are incorrect and that the number is higher much.

The Ministry also called on the World Health Organization and the International Red Cross to follow up and monitor the safety of the health procedures used in Israeli jails, to provide the necessary health materials, and to conduct urgent medical examinations for all prisoners.

It is worth noting that the Israeli occupation continues daily detention operations in the cities of the West Bank and Jerusalem, which form part of the friction with the jailers, in addition to transportation via "bosta" cars, which are the main sources of the spread of the epidemic inside prisons.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Israeli occupation prison administration has deliberately withdrawn more than 140 items from the prisoners' "cantina", including cleaning materials that are considered an essential factor in confronting the infection, especially with the lack of sterilization and disinfection materials.

The Prisoners' Information Office warned that the transfer of a prisoner in contact from Gilboa prison to Shata prison threatens the lives of the prisoners and warns of the danger of transmission, indicating that the symptoms of Coronavirus have begun to appear on some cases of contact in Gilboa prison.


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