Middle East Monitor / April 3, 2020
The occupation army continued its aggression and arrests in the occupied Palestinian territories during the month of March, despite the spread of the coronavirus, attaining 250 recorded arrests, including the detention of 54 children.
The occupation prisons have been overwhelmed since last month by a state of extreme tension and indignation, as a result of the authorities’ disregard for the lives of prisoners by not taking any preventive measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, in addition to confiscating the prisoners’ rights.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies reported on Thursday that the occupation forces arrested 250 Palestinian citizens in March, including 54 children and six women.
The occupation authorities are disregarding all the risks that the detainees may be exposed to while being detained during the outbreak of the coronavirus, not to mention the consequent violations and abuses that may occur during the investigations.
Last month, the occupation forces arrested eight citizens from the Gaza Strip, three of whom were merchants who were arrested while travelling to the Erez crossing, while five other youths were arrested while crossing the Gaza Strip’s eastern border.
The occupation state has been continuously targeting Palestinian women and minors with arrests. 54 cases of detention of minors – the majority of whom were from occupied Jerusalem – were recorded, in addition to six other Palestinian women and girls.
Spokesperson for the Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies, researcher Riyad Al-Ashqar, confirmed that the occupation constantly endangers the lives of Palestinians by continuing arrests in these exceptional circumstances that have swept the whole world. While the Israeli authorities keep releasing Zionist criminals, they continue to arrest Palestinians, including the sick and the elderly.
Al-Ashqar considers the occupation practices towards the prisoners as a clear disregard for their lives, pointing out that the Israeli authorities refused during the past month, and are still refusing, to implement the required safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in prisons, in addition to refusing to sterilise the detention facilities. Medical check-ups for prisoners who are newly transferred to prisons from abroad, or from the investigation and arrest centres, are also not being undertaken to ensure that they are not infected with the virus. This means that the infection will soon propagate in prisons.
He also affirmed that the prison administration decided to deny the prisoners the purchase of dozens of items from the prison canteen, including hygiene materials and soap, as a way to enhance their suffering, which prompted the detainees to use toothpaste and shaving cream to clean the rooms and courtyards.
The occupation courts have issued 65 administrative decisions, including 40 new decisions issued for the first time to arrest Palestinians, the majority of whom were recently released then rearrested by an administrative ruling. This comes in addition to the issuance of 25 decisions to renew the sentences of prisoners under administrative detention, for periods ranging from two to six months.
The centre stressed the need for international institutions to intervene to stop the arrests policy undertaken by the occupation authorities during these times, which pose a threat to the lives of the detainees, while also demanding the immediate and unconditional release of sick prisoners, the elderly, and women and children, as they present the most vulnerable groups.