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First Palestinian child detainee in Israel prison infected with coronavirus

August 7, 2020 at 4:17 pm

Israeli forces arrest a Palestinian teenager, on 21 November 2017 [Muammar Awad/Apaimages]

A Palestinian child prisoner in an Israeli jail has tested positive for coronavirus, according to Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P).

The 15-year-old from Al-Jalazoun Refugee Camp in the West Bank city of Ramallah was detained less than two weeks ago and taken to Shikma Prison in Ashkelon, southern Israel, for interrogation, according to Iyad Misk, an attorney with the rights group.

At least 30 Israeli prison guards and seven Palestinian prisoners have tested positive for Covid-19 so far.

This comes after Israel’s Supreme Court ruled early last month that Palestinian prisoners have no right to social distancing protection against coronavirus.

Israel’s top court rejected a petition made by the Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights calling on prison authorities to implement COVID-19 protective guidelines for inmates at Gilboa prison, a facility in northern Israel housing about 450 Palestinians classified by Israel as “security prisoners”.

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Israel has consistently failed to provide prisoners with basic precautionary services since the beginning of the pandemic, and even withdrew some food and hygiene products from prison commissaries.

“There is no way Israeli forces can justify the detention of a child currently infected with COVID-19,” Ayed Abu Eqtaish, a programme director with DCI-P, stated.

“By extending this boy’s custodial detention, Israeli authorities are recklessly endangering his health and well-being along with the health of other detainees. Israeli authorities must release all Palestinian child detainees immediately.”

Up to 160 Palestinian children were held in Israeli military detention in June, up to 700 Palestinian children from East Jerusalem were jailed last year.