The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Adalah, issued a statement Tuesday contending that Israeli prison authorities have refused to provide heat, blankets, warm clothing to Palestinian prisoners that they are holding without charges in Israeli prisons..

Adalah initially sent a letter on March 4 to IPS Commissioner Ofra Klinger and Israeli Prison Service (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 demanded 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.

According to Adalah’s press release, recent testimony received by the rights organization from imprisoned individuals illustrates the harsh living conditions and severe cold faced in IPS prisons.

The prisoners “are not provided with warm clothing or blankets and don’t have the option of bringing heaters into their cells, Adalah Attorney Muna Haddad wrote in the letter. “The IPS regulations 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.”

-this story was originally published by the Palestinian Wafa News Agency