25 March 2012

Adalah to IPS and Minister of Public Security:
Nafha Prison conditions endanger prisoners' health

(Haifa, Israel) Adalah submitted an urgent letter on 13 March 2012 to the Director of the Israel Prison Service (IPS) and the Minister of Public Security demanding that they reconsider the transfer of Palestinian "security prisoners" from Section 4 of Nafha Prison and close the prison wing. Conditions in Section 4 are so squalid, Adalah Attorney Rima Ayoub-Assaf argued, that they endanger prisoners' health and constitute cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment.

The letter described the walls in the wing as covered with wet patches and mold, with windows that do not permit sunlight or the circulation of air. The rooms are infested with cockroaches and insects, to the point that the mattresses that the prisoners sleep on are full of bugs and stink putridly.

In addition, the prison is unbearably overcrowded, with ten prisoners in a room that does not exceed 25 square meters, or 2.5 square meters per prisoner, far below internationally accepted standards. Closet space is insufficient, forcing prisoners to keep their clothing and belongings on the floor, further decreasing the available space. Toilets are not separate from the rest of the bathroom, making their use embarrassing and awkward. As the prisoners in Section 4 are classified as "security prisoners", they are only permitted short recreation breaks in a small courtyard, which itself is not large enough for exercise.

On 5 March 2012, Adalah also sent a letter to the IPS to request reconsideration of its decision to transfer prisoners from Gilboa Prison to Nafha Prison because of the inhumane conditions and Nafha's distance from the prisoners' families, many of whom reside in the Galilee and the Triangle in Israel. Adalah stated that this large transfer of prisoners to such a sub-standard facility leaves no doubt that the move is additional punishment for them.