Activists call for release of Palestinian detainee about to give birth in Israeli jail
The Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs [CDA] said it is working hard to obtain approval for the transfer of 26-year-old Anhar Al-Deek to a hospital before she delivers her baby.
Al-Deek, from the village of Naima near Ramallah, was arrested in March on suspicion of attempting to carry out a stabbing attack at an illegal settlement outpost of Sde Ephraim in the West Bank, when she was four months pregnant.
In comments to The New Arab's Arabic-language edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, CDA's lawyer Hanan Al-Khatib said Al-Deek has expressed great fear about going into labour in her prison cell.
"We want to maintain media pressure to ensure Deek’s release or at least her transfer to a hospital so she can give birth there, especially since the prison where she is being held is not equipped for labour," Al-Khatib said.
Al-Deek is being held at Damon Prison, south of Haifa, one of Israel's most outdated prisons. There are currently no infants there.
In a matter of days, pregnant Palestinian political prisoner Anhar Al-Deek will give birth to the world's youngest prisoner. Palestinian women in Israeli detention often have their hands and feet tied to the bed while delivering.#SaveAnhar#FreeAnhar pic.twitter.com/sNQ7jlPoVn— Mak_leha`03🍉 (@Makleha031) August 30, 2021
Al-Deek's husband Thaer Al-Hijjah told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that he has only been allowed to see his pregnant wife once.
"The meeting lasted only 45 minutes, during which I was trying to reassure Anhar, but she was very worried about the possibility of giving birth in her cell," Hijjah said.
"Anhar faces difficulties in pregnancy, like many women. But the circumstances of her detention increased those difficulties, especially that she needs a caesarean section to deliver the baby."
Al-Deek's case has set off a number of demonstrations in the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip demanding her release. Scores rallied on Sunday in front of Damon prison.
Arabic-language campaigns in support of Al-Deek and her unborn child have also gained momentum on social media under the hashtag #SaveAnhar.
Posts credited to Al-Deek, widely shared online, describe the harsh conditions in prison, as well as her concerns for the fate of her baby and herself.
"The prison guards said they would put me and the baby in solitary confinement because of the coronavirus. My heart already aches for my son," one post said.
Prison childbirth among Palestinian female detainees is considered rare, with the last such case having occurred in 2008.
According to a report by the Palestinian news agency WAFA, based on data from the Palestinian Prisoners Club advocacy group, a few detainees have given birth in prison over the years.
Most recently, Fatma Azek from Gaza, who was arrested in May 2007 when she was two months pregnant,, later gave birth in jail and was released one year later.