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PLO urges Israel to release Palestinian prisoner diagnosed with novel coronavirus

This picture shows imprisoned Palestinian university student Mohammad Majed Hassan, who was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus only three days after he was arrested by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. (Photo via Twitter)

A high-ranking official of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has called on the Israeli regime to immediately release a Palestinian prisoner diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, amid serious concerns that Palestinian detainees are at very high risk of contracting the virus due to the conditions in which they are forced to live.

Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee Saeb Erekat, in a post published on his official Twitter page on Sunday, denounced the continued detention of Mohammad Majed Hassan – a student from Birzeit University – as a blatant violation of Israel's “obligations under the international humanitarian law.”

“We hold Israel fully responsible for his life and demand his immediate release,” Erekat added.

Earlier, the senior Palestinian official had called on the international community and the UN Secretary-General António Guterres to “oblige Israel to release him immediately in order to follow up on his medical condition.”

Hassan is reportedly being held at an Israeli detention center in Jerusalem al-Quds. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 disease three days after he was arrested by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.

On April 17, Guterres demanded the protection of Palestinian prisoners in the time of the pandemic.

The UN chief also asked his Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolay Mladenov, to remain in contact with Israeli officials to ensure that due attention is paid.

On Sunday, the Israeli Ministry of Health reported 100 new cases of coronavirus. The figure brought the total number of infection with COVID-19 in the occupied Palestinian territories to 15,398.

According to the ministry, the death toll has stayed put at 199 since Saturday evening, while the number of patients in serious condition has gone up from 127 to 132. A total of 403 patients are currently in hospital.

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