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13 Palestinian inmates contract COVID-19 in Israel jail

360 inmates facing pandemic must purchase own sterilization materials, masks at high prices, says Palestinian NGO

Salam Abu Sharar  | 11.11.2020 - Update : 11.11.2020
13 Palestinian inmates contract COVID-19 in Israel jail

HEBRON, Palestine

Thirteen Palestinian detainees have been diagnosed with the coronavirus infection at the Gilboa prison Wednesday, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS).

That figure raised the number of infected detainees in the prison in the northern Jordan Valley to 100 in just a few days.

The NGO said 360 prisoners at the prison are facing the pandemic, particularly those who are suffering from chronic diseases.

Sterilization materials and masks are not provided to detainees, forcing inmates to buy them at high prices, said PPS.

"The service of the prisons must provide the detainees with all prevention tools, but what it does is let them buy it, as a tool of punishment," said PPS spokeswoman Amany Sarahneh.

Letters were sent from PPS to International organizations, including the World Health Organization, UN and the International Committee for the Red Cross to intervene on behalf of the infected inmates, but Sarahneh told Anadolu Agency those organizations have so far been silent.

"The response of international institutions is not measured up to the required level," she says.

The prison service has also informed inmates that the amount of certain types of foods will be decreased because of inadequate amounts.

"The letters from the jail are very painful. The prisoners talk about a disregard for their health. The quality of food is very poor, despite the special healthcare for them that needs good nutrition. Just one lemon daily for each cell shared between the group of the detainees," Said Sarahneh.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, visits by Palestinian families and advocates have been interrupted and completely stopped at the prison.

A total of 131 detainees have been infected with coronavirus since the pandemic started in March.

According to Palestinian estimates, there are 4,400 Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, including 41 women and 155 children.

About 350 are held under Israel’s administrative detention policy, which allows authorities to hold Palestinians without charge or trial.

Around 700 detainees are suffering from chronic diseases.

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