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Palestine urges intl. community to secure release of pregnant inmate in Israel jail

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Female Palestinian detainee Anhar al-Deek (L) and her family (Photo by Wafa news agency)

The Palestinian health minister has called on the international community and humanitarian organizations to force Israel into releasing a 26-year-old pregnant Palestinian woman who is in her ninth month of pregnancy.

In a series of letters sent to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Population Fund, Mai al-Keila held Israeli authorities fully responsible for the safety of Anhar al-Deek and the health of her fetus, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported Thursday. 

The minister stressed that Israeli prisons lack the minimum health and preventive conditions, especially in light of the COVID-19 resurgence.

"Anhar is the mother of an 18-month-old baby. She needs to be next to her family and children, and this is a human right guaranteed by various international regulations, laws and norms," said a-Keila.

Palestinian Minister of Women's Affairs Amal Hamad earlier described Anhar's detention as a blatant violation of international conventions and principles, particularly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions on the Protection of Civilians and Prisoners of War.

Hamad also described the arrest of ad-Deek as a war crime, pointing out that she was detained on March 8 while she was three months pregnant, and put behind bars without any consideration for her health.

Speaking at a sit-in held outside the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) headquarters in Gaza City last week, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum lambasted the international community for its failure to take an effective measure against the Israeli regime’s growing mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners, stressing the need for an urgent move to save ad-Deek.

“Pressure must be exerted on the Israeli Occupation in order to end the suffering of our female prisoners, especially Anhar ad-Deek – a Palestinian mother in Israeli detention who is on her ninth month of pregnancy, and Israa Riyad Jamil Ja’abees,” he added.

Al-Deek, a resident of Kafr Ni'ma town located 13 kilometers (8 miles) northwest of Ramallah, herself has recently appealed to the international community to pressure Israel to allow her to give birth outside prison.

"I am tied up, how can I give birth via caesarean section when I am alone in prison?" she was quoted as saying.

"I am exhausted, and I had severe pains in the pelvis and severe pain in my legs due to sleeping on the prison beds. I do not know how I want to sleep on it after my delivery operation," she added.

The Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs in July reviewed Israeli prison authorities’ deliberate medical negligence toward Palestinian detainees and violation of basic rights of the inmates languishing behind bars in Israeli jails.

Palestinian inmates have been subjected to systematic torture, harassment and repression all through the years of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Human rights organizations say Israel continues to violate all rights and freedoms granted to prisoners by the Fourth Geneva Convention and international laws.

There are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians held at Israeli jails. Many of them are being held without charge or under Israel’s so-called administrative detention policy.

Some prisoners have been held in "administrative detention" for up to 11 years.

Senior Palestinian officials say Israel must be held accountable for its persecution of Palestinian people, including its mass and arbitrary detentions.

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