Minors, female prisoners suffer from extreme cold in Israeli jails
Published Saturday 21/12/2013 (updated) 22/12/2013 18:11
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian minors and female prisoners in Israel's Hasharon prison are suffering from extreme cold as the Israeli prison service continues to refuse to provide them with enough blankets, a prisoners' representative said Saturday.
Amin Ziyadah told lawyer Fawwaz Shalloudi, who works for the Palestinian Prisoners' Society, that both minors and female prisoners were told they had to buy extra blankets from the prison's shop, despite the unusually severe cold weather the region is currently experiencing.
The prices were too high, and as result they were unable to buy any, Ziyadeh said.
Ziyadah, who is himself a prisoner, quoted an underage prisoner as saying, "Uncle, I couldn't sleep all night due to severe cold."
Ziyadah said that he was unable to help the youth except by giving his own blanket.
Lina Jarbouni, the most veteran of 15 female prisoners held at Hasharon prison, confirmed that minors and female prisoners were suffering seriously due to lack of enough blankets.
Some female prisoners already suffer from a number of health troubles, she added. Their situation worsened as a result of severe cold and lack of heating and blankets.
"Female prisoner Nawal al-Saadi, who was seriously ill, filled bottles with hot water to warm her feet," she said.
On Sunday, Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Qaraqe told Ma'an that during the recent storm, Israeli prison administration refused a request from the Palestinian Authority to allow them to distribute extra blankets and clothes they had prepared for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
At that time, Qaraqe said that "the Israeli prison administration did not provide prisoners with the basic requirements to protect them from the extreme cold, and it is responsible for their lives during these conditions."
5,200 Palestinians were being held in Israeli jails as of Oct. 2013, according to the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs. Another 1,280 are in Israeli prisons for being inside Israel without permits.
Since 1967, more than 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel, representing 20 percent of the total population and 40 percent of all males in the occupied territories.
Under international law, it is illegal to transfer prisoners outside of the occupied territory in which they are detained, and the families of Palestinian prisoners' face many obstacles in obtaining permits to see their imprisoned relatives.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.