RAMALLAH, Friday, April 17, 2020 (WAFA) – Hanan Ashrawi, Member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)‘s Executive Committee, said on the occasion of the Palestinian Prisoner Day that the "Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israeli detention centers and prisons are hostages to Israel‘s gratuitous cruelty and victims of its regime of oppression and subjugation."
She said 5,000 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel in deplorable conditions, including 432 so-called administrative detainees imprisoned without charge or trial, and are denied their basic rights to due process and justice.
Ashrawi renewed the call on behalf of the Palestinian leadership for the release of all Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, especially the 700 Palestinian prisoners suffering from chronic illnesses and other underlying conditions that make them especially vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said, "As the Palestinian people confront the challenges of colonial occupation and this vicious virus, Israel has persisted in its illegal policies against Palestinian prisoners. It has denied them access to family and lawyer visits and refused to take any preventive measures inside prisons, including testing for COVID-19, even after 1 prisoner tested positive upon release and several occupation officers in prisons have tested positive."
"Israel has also persisted in its illegal policy of arbitrary mass detention of Palestinians. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Israeli occupation forces have detained 357 Palestinians across the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Among those detained are 48 children," Ashrawi added.
"As an occupying power, Israel has undeniable and binding obligations under international law. It is directly responsible for the life and health of all prisoners and must face consequences for its grave violations of international law."
The PLO official called on "all human rights defenders and relevant international organizations to support our call for the release of Palestinian prisoners and their protection from this deadly virus."