Archbishop of Sebastia from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of occupied Jerusalem, Attallah Hanna, issued a statement calling on Israel to release the Palestinian political prisoners in its jails, especially after a recently released detainee was found to be infected with the Coronavirus.

The Archbishop said that Israel must release all detainees before it is too late, especially since the political prisoners already face very dire conditions and are deprived of basic rights guaranteed by all international laws and treaties.

He added that the fact that a detainee, who was released just days ago, was found to be infected with the virus, calls for immediate action and serious measures, including their release to their families.

The detainee, Noureddin Sarsour, from Betunia town, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, gave his consent to the lawyers to reveal his identity, the  Palestinian Committee for Detainees and Ex-Detainees has confirmed.

“Here in occupied Palestine, we cannot just stand and watch while this disaster ravages among the detainees, in their small, dirty, overcrowded rooms, and cells,” Hanna stated, “We, therefore, call on all legal and human rights groups, in addition to all religious institutions, and every person or group that defends human rights, to unite and combine their efforts to secure the release of all detainees, especially as this disease is becoming like a rapidly ticking time bomb.”

The archbishop reiterated his call for all organizations and groups in Palestine, the Arab world and all around the globe, to act immediately to secure the release of all detainees.

The Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails are constantly facing harsh living conditions and are denied the right to proper and specialized medical treatment.

Last year, a Palestinian detainee from Gaza, identified as Fares Mohammad Baroud, 51, who has been held by Israel since 1991, died from serious complications resulting from being denied required specialized medical attention.

His death brings the number of detainees who died in Israeli prisons since the year 1967 to 218, including 63 who died after being denied the required essential medical treatment.

It is worth mentioning that, in another statement, the Archbishop called for the immediate lifting of the deadly Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, to alleviate the suffering of around 2 Million Palestinians, the majority of them living in poverty and dire conditions.