There are currently 17 women political prisoners in Hasharon Prison, of whom 10 are detainees pending trial, while seven others have already been sentenced. In addition, three detainees are under house arrest.
In the prison there are no specialized physicians for women political prisoners (apart from dentists, who administer only basic treatments) and the process of getting a medical specialist is long and complicated, if not impossible. In cooperation with the NGO Yussef Al-Sadek, permission has been granted for a dermatologist to visit three of the prisoners. The permit was first given to only one woman, but following correspondence with the prison authorities, permission to receive this specialized medical care was granted to two additional prisoners. Currently efforts are being made to enable a dentist to visit the prison to perform more complicated treatments that the prison medical service does not provide.
The prisoners are interested in introducing sports equipment, such as an exercise walker (treadmill) and bicycle etc.
The International Red Cross (IRC) is entitled to being this equipment into the prison under the Israel Prison Service (IPS) regulations, but the IRC has declared it has no funding for this, and is unwilling to bring in equipment donated by other organizations. WOFPP's legal adviser, attorney Taghrid Jahshan, approached the prison authorities in order to find an alternative way of acquiring this equipment, and the question is being discussed by the IPS central command. WOFPP is also exploring the possibility of asking the prison authorities to provide this equipment, as is the case at the Neve Tirzah facility for criminal women prisoners.
Heating equipment for the winter
This winter prisoners were forbidden to buy space heaters for their cells from the prison canteen shop, despite this being permitted last year.
Due to the extreme cold this winter, additional aid was given and the prisoners were provided with blankets. Once again, this was the result of cooperation between WOFPP and the Yussuf Al-Sadek organization which donated a sum enabling each woman to purchase a blanket from the canteen shop, since the provision of blankets by the prisoners' families was also forbidden this year.
Because some prisoners cannot afford these basic items (the price of blankets in the prison canteen shop is more than double the market price) WOFPP will work towards enabling the families to bring in blankets once more.
Receiving and Sending Letters
The prisoners have recently complained that for several months they have received almost no letters from their families or others.
With the encouragement and support of WOFPP many prisoners correspond with people abroad. But one French citizen complained that for several months his letters had not reached the prisoner Lina Jarbuni and that his letters were not returned to him. WOFPP's legal adviser approached the prison authorities who, together with the advisor and the prisoners, investigated the receipt of mail.
WOFPP is still following up on letters sent by the prisoners and their receipt by the addressees. The matter is ongoing, but this month Lina Jarbuni received a letter from France, and two other prisoners also reported receiving mail this month.
Shoes for the Prisoners
For several years the IPS has prevented families from bringing shoes to prisoners (men as well as women - although the situation for women prisoners is harder than for the men, since the shoes in the canteen shop are men's shoes).
The expense of the shoes prevents the prisoners from buying them, and since they have no suitable shoes that they can wear in the cold, the severity of the situation increases every year over winter. The prisoners walk around in rubber slip-ons, which is the only shoe they can afford at the canteen shop.
Transport to the Courts
The detainees who have to attend a court session at the Ofer and Salem Military Courts complain of the harsh attitude of the wardens/guards, male and female, from the Nachshon Unit of the IPS. They also complain of the conditions in the 'paddy wagon' (the IPS transport vehicle) - especially the cold air-conditioning and the freezing cold of the court's holding cells in which they are kept during the day.
In order to investigate the possibility of a joint action to change these conditions WOFPP maintains contact with other organizations, including the Clinic for the Rights and Rehabilitation of Prisoners at the Faculty of Law at Haifa University.