International Rights Group Urges Israel to Release Palestinian Prisoners

Geneva, MINA – International human rights groups join forces to demand the Israeli release older and sick Palestinian prisoners to avoid the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in its prisons.

The call coincides with Palestinian Prisoner Day on Friday, April 17, when Palestinians remember their friends and family who are being held in Israeli prisons.

Yehiya Masswadeh, Spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), told Arab News, Committee members were concerned about the danger posed by COVID-19 for Palestinian prisoners, especially those with serious medical conditions.

“The condition of detainees is the main topic in our dialogue with Israeli authorities,” he said.

Last month, Palestinian Council for Human Rights Organization (PHROC) sent a letter to the ICRC and the diplomatic community in Palestine highlighting the rapidly deteriorating conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The council “urgently requests” interventions for the health and safety of Palestinian prisoners, especially minors, who are vulnerable and chronically ill, and those who are detained under administrative detention that is contrary to international law.

Separately, six Israeli human rights organizations have written letters to the country’s Ministry of Public Security and Justice calling for immediate action to reduce the minimum number of prisoners held in Israel to protect their health during the virus outbreak.

Omar Shakir, Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) in Israel-Palestine, who now lives in Jordan after being deported by Israel, urges the release of vulnerable prisoners. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)