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Cancer-stricken Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jail tests positive for Covid-19

Detainee Kamal Abu Wa'ar has been tested for Covid-19 [Twitter]

Date of publication: 12 July, 2020

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Palestinian detainee Kamal Abu Wa'ar who was diagnosed with cancer last year has been tested for coronavirus.
A cancer-stricken Palestinian political detainee in an Israeli prison has tested positive for coronavirus, local reports said on Sunday.

Detainee Kamal Abu Wa'ar, who is held in Israel's Gilboa prison, has tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Palestinian Authority's Detainees and Ex-Detainees Commission.

Hasan Abd Rabbo, spokesperson for the Commission told Palestinian Authority's official news agency Wafa that the Commission's lawyers are following up on Abu Wa'ar's condition and where the infection came from.

Abu Wa'ar, who is serving a life sentence and has throat cancer, was recently taken by prison authorities to a hospital in Ramle after his health deteriorated. There, he tested positive for Covid-19.

"We've repeatedly warned against a coronavirus outbreak among the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention, as the source of infection comes from the Israeli prison's staff themselves as they come into contact with the outside environment," Abd Rabbo said.

Read more: Coronavirus under occupation: Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails fear the worst

The Commission said in a statement it has requested information from the Israeli Prison Service regarding the medical condition of Abu Wa'ar and demanded the Israeli authorities to immediately release him.  

Last year, Abu Wa'ar was diagnosed with throat cancer and consequently started receiving radiotherapy.

At the times he was moved to hospital, Israeli guards would move him handcuffed without any consideration to how frail he was, the Commission added.

He has since lost a significant amount of weight and developed speaking difficulties.

Israel currently holds around 5,700 Palestinian prisoners, including 200 children, 44 women, five members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and 27 journalists. 

Reports suggest 470 Palestinian prisoners are held in "administrative detention" without charge or trial.

Under the administrative detention order, Israel detains Palestinians for six months at a time in intervals that can be extended indefinitely.

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians, human rights groups say.

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