[Pnews] Use socks as face masks to avoid virus: Israel to Palestinians

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sun Mar 22 09:43:03 EDT 2020

socks as face masks to avoid virus: Israel to Palestinians
March 22, 2020

*Israel has asked Palestinian prisoners to use their socks as masks to
avoid the deadly coronavirus, which has killed thousands of people across
the world.*

Hamas leader Wasfi Qabba said Saturday that Israel rejected the request of
the detainees' representatives at Megiddo prison to provide them with
protective masks and asked them to use their socks instead.

Qabba, a former Palestinian minister of prisoner affairs, warned that
depriving the detainees of face masks reflects the Tel Aviv regime's
intention to infect prisoners with the virus.

He called on the international human rights institutions to provide
prisoners with disinfectants and hygiene products to counter the disease.

Abdelnasser Ferwana, chief of Studies and Documentation Unit of the
Prisoners and Former Prisoners Committee, said the Israeli Prison System
(IPS) mockingly said “let the prisoners use their socks” as safety masks,
against the coronavirus.

Palestinian prisoners’ rights groups have accused Israeli prison
authorities of engaging in gross medical negligence and abuse by not
ensuring adequate protection for Palestinian prisoners
against the coronavirus.

Several human rights groups have reportedly warned that the lives of
thousands of Palestinian prisoners are now at risk, stating that Israeli
authorities have not yet applied precautionary measures to its prisons.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has appealed to international human
rights organizations, including the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC), to pressure Israel into taking
up adequate measures to protect prisoners from the coronavirus pandemic.

The PPS said on Thursday Israeli prison authorities had informed them that
four Palestinian detainees in the Megiddo prison had contracted the virus.

According to the PPS, the prisoners in sections 5, 6 and 10 of the prison
were infected after one of them came in contact with an infected Israeli
investigator while being interrogated in the city of Petah Tikva.

“The prison administration has officially informed the inmates about the
infections, and everyone is on high alert. Prisoners are facing today the
danger of infection from prison guards and investigators," it said.

The four prisoners have reportedly been isolated from the rest of the
prison population.

The Palestinian Committee for Prisoners' Affairs, however, said Israeli
media reports suggesting that four Palestinian prisoners have been
infected by the widely-spread coronavirus were inaccurate.

On Wednesday, Palestinian prisoners rejected their meals in protest against
the Israeli Prison Service’s plans to stop supplying 140 items,
including cleaning products, from the canteen and halt
medical visits for detainees.

*Palestinians call for release of prisoners amid virus fears *

On Saturday, the West Bank-based Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees
Affairs issued an urgent appeal for the release of Palestinian prisoners
held in Israeli jails amid the virus outbreak.

The statement warned a "real catastrophe" in Israeli prisons because of the
high number of people diagnosed with the coronavirus in the
occupied territories.

It called on the international community and human rights organizations to
pressure Israel to release the Palestinian prisoners, particularly the
elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases.

There are currently approximately 5,700 Palestinians held up in Israeli
prisons and detention centers, including hundreds of women and children.

Over 500 of them are being held in administrative detention, without any
charge or trial.
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