Palestinian prisoners jailed by Israel suffering from extreme cold

Adalah to Israel Prison Service: You must supply prisoners with blankets, winter clothing, and heaters to meet UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

Palestinians classified as "security prisoners" held in Israeli prisons are suffering from extreme cold conditions, as the Israel Prison Service (IPS) is not providing them with enough blankets, warm clothing, or heaters.


Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel sent a letter on 4 March 2018 to IPS Commissioner Ofra Klinger and IPS legal advisor attorney Yochi Gensin, demanding that they provide blankets to Palestinians classified as "security prisoners," refrain from limiting the number of blankets an individual may use, and allow heaters in cells.


Adalah also demands the IPS allow families to bring blankets for the prisoners and that it cancel orders that allow the confiscation of blankets as a punitive measure.


Recent testimony received by Adalah from imprisoned individuals illustrates the harsh living conditions and severe cold faced in IPS prisons.


As Adalah Attorney Muna Haddad wrote in the letter:


"They are not provided with warm clothing or blankets and don't have the option of bringing heaters into their cells. The IPS regulations limit the number of blankets that prisoners may bring into their cells and do not permit receiving blankets from their families. The cost of blankets at the prison canteen is so excessive that prisoners are unable to obtain them there."


Similar conditions were described in a public defender's report issued in June 2017, which stressed that "the IPS is obligated to supply prisoners with means of heating [their cells], which will allow them to protect their health, particularly given that their cells are open and bitter cold during the winter."


In her letter, Attorney Haddad wrote that the IPS is violating its obligation to provide for the minimal needs of prisoners. IPS orders specify that "a prisoner shall be held in appropriate conditions that do not harm his health or dignity" and that prisoners have a right to "a bed, mattress, and blankets for personal use."


In addition, the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners specifies that "All accommodation provided for the use of prisoners and in particular all sleeping accommodation shall meet all requirements of health, due regard being paid to climatic conditions and particularly to cubic content of air, minimum floor space, lighting, heating, and ventilation."