A Palestinian prisoner recently arrested by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank has tested positive for the coronavirus amid mounting concerns that the health condition of detainees in Israeli jails are at great risk.
The Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs announced on Sunday that Israeli authorities had informed the commission’s lawyer Karim Ajwa that Nabil al-Sharbati, a resident of the city of al-Khalil, had been infected.
The commission stated that Sharbati was detained nearly a week ago, and the Ofer Military Court ruled on Thursday that he must be remanded in custody for seven days pending further investigation.
Israeli prison officials conducted a coronavirus diagnostic test on the Palestinian two days ago, and he was found to have contacted the virus. He was accordingly put in quarantine at Ramon prison.
Late last month, Palestinian prisoner Mohammad al-Hazeen tested positive for coronavirus a day after he was released from the same prison.
Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on July 23 that Palestinian prisoners have no right to physical distancing protection against coronavirus.
Israel’s top court rejected a petition made by the Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, which called on Israel to implement COVID-19 protective guidelines for inmates at Gilboa prison.
There have been growing calls from regional and international rights groups, including the Europal Forum, to put pressure on the Israeli regime to provide Palestinian prisoners with enough protection against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Palestinian and Arab activists also launched a media campaign earlier this year by using local radio stations and Twitter hashtags to help protest the Palestinian prisoners.
According to the Palestinian Information Center, over 60 official and private institutions from around the world, including societies, unions and media outlets, participated in the campaign.
More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences.
Over 350 detainees, including women and minors, are under Israel’s administrative detention.
The administrative detention, which is a form of imprisonment without trial or charge, allows authorities to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The duration could be extended for an infinite number of times.
The detention takes place on orders from a military commander and on the basis of what the Israeli regime describes as ‘secret’ evidence.
Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.