[Pnews] Palestine - Urgent Action: Free Our Prisoners

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Mar 31 11:44:42 EDT 2020

 http://www.addameer.org/news/urgent-action-free-our-prisoners Urgent
Action: Free Our Prisoners
March 31, 2020

We call on our allies, partners, friends and comrades to join us in an
urgent campaign to free all Palestinian prisoners in order to protect them
from COVID-19, particularly in light of the increased restrictions on their
rights by the Israeli Prison Service.

In light of the recent events detailed below and a long-term precedence of
torture, physical violence, medical negligence and inhumane prison
conditions, we are alarmed and concerned about the safety and well-being of
Palestinian prisoners and detainees.

In early March 2020, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) halted all family and
lawyers’ visits for Palestinian prisoners, citing this measure as a
COVID-19 precaution. Furthermore, all trial proceedings in the military
courts are postponed indefinitely, and Palestinians undergoing pre-trial
detention or interrogation are not brought into court for their detention
extensions, further deepening the violations against their liberty and
their rights to a fair and speedy trial. Moreover, Palestinian prisoner’s
legal representatives are barred from direct communication and only allowed
phone calls with them, meaning that they cannot accurately assess the
health and safety of the detainees.

In addition to this, on 18 March 2020, Addameer lawyers were informed that
four Palestinian detainees under interrogation may have been exposed to
COVID-19 transmitted by contact with an Israeli worker at Petah Tikva
interrogation center, and who tested positive for the coronavirus. The four
detainees were sent to quarantine at the al-Ramleh Prison Clinic. Later on,
two of the detainees were released to their families in the West Bank
without being tested, the other two after finishing their quarantine were
sent to Israeli prisons. Furthermore, Palestinians continue to be arrested
from their homes in the West Bank daily, and are immediately placed into

Our growing concern for Palestinian prisoners and detainees during the
ongoing COVID-19 pandemic grows out of the systematic and routine medical
negligence inside Israeli detention and interrogation centers. In 2019,
five Palestinian prisoners died in captivity, three of them as a result of
deliberate medical negligence, while hundreds suffer from chronic diseases
that go untreated. Furthermore, the dismal conditions, including
overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and poor nutrition, make the prisons
dangerous breeding grounds for COVID-19. Prisoners have reported that there
are new restrictions on purchases from the prison canteen, and they are not
provided with proper hygiene and sanitation products, putting them even
further at risk of the virus spreading.

This also comes in light of the IPS’s continuous refusal to install
landline phones inside prisons as stipulated in the most recent hunger
strike negotiations. The refusal to install landlines is clearly an attempt
to further distance the prisoners from contact with their families, and on
a larger scale, an attempt to fragment the Palestinian population.

Given the newly instated rules and regulations during the COVID-19
pandemic, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has remained
the only entity permitted direct communication and visits to Palestinian
prisoners. Yet, the ICRC has not provided the families or the public with
updates on the conditions of the prisoners during the COVID-19 pandemic,
particularly those in quarantine.

Therefore, we call on all people of conscious to join us in demanding the
freedom of all prisoners.

*Call to Action:*

-        Take a short of video of yourself, less than one minute, express
one or more of the listed demands for the campaign, and post it on your
social media accounts. Use the hashtag #FreeOurPrisoners #COVID_19 and tag
Addameer in your post on Facebook
<https://www.facebook.com/AddameerAssociation/>, Twitter
<https://twitter.com/Addameer>, and Instagram

-        Write and/or call the offices of the ICRC and ask them to fulfill
their obligation in making sure Palestinian prisoners are protected, and to
pressure allow Palestinian prisoners phone/video calls with their families.

ICRC Jerusalem office: jer_jerusalem at icrc.org, Tel: 0041-22-7346001
<%200041-22-7346001>, Fax: 0041-22-7332057 <0041-22-7332057> ICRC Ramallah
office: ram_ramallah at icrc.org, Tel: 02-2414030-1 <02-2414030-1>,  Fax:
02-2414034 <02-2414034>
ICRC Tel Aviv office: dwaites at icrc.org, Tel: (+972) 35 24 52 86, Fax:
(+972) 35 27 03 70
ICRC Geneva office: press at icrc.org, Tel: +41 22 734 60 01 <+41-22-734-60-01>
ICRC Washington office: anelson at icrc.org, Tel: +1 (202) 587-4600, Fax: +1
(202) 587-4696 <mkilstein at icrc.org>

We demand the release of all Palestinian political prisoners to ensure
their safety from the rapidly spreading pandemic, particularly those who
are more vulnerable and more susceptible to the disease, such as children,
female prisoners, elderly, the sick, and the injured;

We demand the release of all Palestinian political prisoners under
administrative detention who are detained indefinitely without charge or

We demand the release of all Palestinian political prisoners who are
nearing the end of their sentences and/or should be released on probation,
due to the over-crowded cells and sections of the prisoners;

We demand the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) ensure the protection of
prisoners through applying the necessary preventive measures against
COVID-19. Also, we demand the IPS maintain the connection of the prisoners
to their families through unmonitored phone or video calls between the
prisoners and their families; especially as family visits are suspended and
the IPS continues to refuse install landlines in the prisons.
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