RAMALLAH, Palestine

Two Palestinian mothers are being held in solitary confinement in Israel without access to medical care, according to their families and a human rights activist.

After nearly four weeks in isolation, Muna Naddaf from the Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association managed to visit the two women at Al Jalameh Prison near the city of Haifa last week.

“The cell where the two prisoners are being held is not fit for human life,” Naddaf told Anadolu Agency.

Fadwa Hamadah, 34, was arrested by Israeli forces in August 2017 for allegedly attempting to stab Israeli soldiers. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Jihan Hashemah, 36, was arrested in 2016 near the Qalandia military checkpoint north of Jerusalem on similar charges. She was slapped with a four-year jail term.

In early June, authorities at Damon Prison in Haifa transferred the two detainees to an isolation cell following an incident with prison guards. They were later transferred to Al Jalameh Prison, where they are also being kept in isolation.

“Surveillance cameras are installed in the cell where Fadwa and Jihan are being held, which violates their privacy,” Naddaf said. 

“Cameras can catch them if they want to take a shower or use the toilet as the cell’s bathroom is not separated by a door.”

According to Naddaf, the two Palestinian mothers were not allowed to put on new clothes in their isolation.

“They spent more than 20 days in the same clothes.”

The female prisoners also complain of being denied any electric appliances and served bad food.

“The law stipulates that the maximum time of isolation does not exceed 14 days, with a break of seven days after the first week. But this did not happen with Fadwa and Jihan,” Naddaf said.

“They have been kept in isolation since June 8 and denied the right to go out to the prison yard, sunbathing and outdoor air for 25 days.”

Fear for life

The families of the two female prisoners have expressed concern over their health in isolation.

“Fadwa has been suffering from hypertension since she was arrested,” her husband Monther Hamadah told Anadolu Agency. “Israeli prison authorities haven’t given her any type of medicine since she was put in isolation.”

Fadwa is a mother of five, the youngest of whom is a three-year-old.

“They miss their mother every day,” Hamadah said. “I don’t know how to answer them when they ask for her. They don’t know how long she will be in prison. They have been unable to visit her since the coronavirus outbreak in March.”

Fadwa’s youngest daughter Maryam knows her mother through photos.

Hamadah said Maryam was allowed by Israeli prison authorities to visit her mother for the first time when she was two years old, almost two years after Fadwa’s detention.

Jihan, a mother of three, suffers from several chronic diseases such as hyperlipidemia, thyroid gland problems and leg injuries after she was shot by Israeli soldiers, according to her mother.

“Jihan’s daughter Farah has a disability and needs special care,” said Jihan’s mother Hashemah, who visited her daughter Jihan in prison for the last time in January.

Naddaf said her association has applied to the prison administration to improve the conditions of the two female prisoners and end their isolation.

“Their mingling with other woman prisoners is important for their physical and psychological health,” she said. “Both suffer from severe psychological pressure because they miss their children and are worried about them.”

Over 5,500 Palestinians are currently languishing in prisons located throughout Israel, according to Palestinian official sources.

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