Palestinian Prisoners In Israel: Save Us From Coronavirus Before Prisons Turn Into Cemeteries

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Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails today sent a humanitarian appeal to the world calling to save them from the deadly coronavirus pandemic before it kills them.

“The feeling of imminent threat and danger to our lives in Israeli prisons is growing day by day, even hour by hour,” said the prisoners in the letter of appeal directed to human rights organizations and “those who believe in freedom.”

“The Coronavirus is spreading and is threatening the region and entire world. We are always hearing new instructions and regulations by the Israeli government to its population, like all governments in the world on what to do to stop the spread of the virus. When it comes to our situation, the political prisoners in Israeli jails, we are not hearing or seeing any measures or even answers to our most basic questions; what if the virus spread in prisons? What are the practical and humane steps that will be taken by the prison authorities?”

They added: “The only thing we are told from the prison administration is that they are taking all cautionary measures and for us this is not acceptable; especially knowing that there are now hundreds of sick prisoners who are suffering many health problems, some are sever like asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.”

They said: “We are sending this appeal to the world and all those concerned for human rights to save what is left of us who have lost our freedom and to save us from this virus that is threatening our lives and nothing is being done by those who are responsible and accountable under international law. Medical negligence and indifference has haunted Palestinian prisoners for decades and many lost their lives due to such behavior. We say this as we also hear that the Israeli medical system cannot even handle the current amount of patients in its own society and that number is increasing. If this is the situation that means we expect no response when it hits the prisons unless international pressure mounts.

“The only way and hope to stop the spread of this disease is due diligence, prevention and hygiene. The Israeli prison administration does not provide us with the required sterilization supplies, tools or even face masks. They behave in formalities that are more like threats rather than conducting tests or taking precautions. We only have contact with the outside world through the jailers who are indifferent in their approach to us and can possibly carry the virus and pass it on to us and nothing is being regulated from that end. They, in turn, if they fall ill, are able to take measures by moving away from the public and receive necessary treatment.

“We hold the prison administration, the Israeli government, those who are silent about what is going on, and all those who defend human rights, the full responsibility of our wellbeing and health.”

In their appeal, the prisoners called on the “free people of the world”: “Do not leave us to die in our prison beds as this infection spreads without anyone showing any care. What does the world expect of us? To rebel as some prisoners have in some countries only to be killed by bullets before they were eliminated by the virus?

“This is a cry to the whole world, and we have lists of cases of those who are suffering from poor health conditions in Israeli prisons, knowing that the numbers of patients are much higher.”

The letter, written by The Palestinian Prison Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, included names of 35 ill Palestinian prisoners.

(Source / 25.03.2020) 

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