Inmates at Palma Prison demand they be released.

Inmates at Palma Prison demand they be released. archive photo.

18-07-2008A. Sepulveda

Prisoners in Palma jail are demanding that they be released because of the threat of coronavirus.

The inmates have written formal letters via their lawyers siting World Health Organisation guidelines and demanding that they get out of jail.

"All we ask is that the authorities pay particular attention to the specific needs of the most vulnerable detainees, such as elderly inmates, risk groups, people with previous illnesses, etc, perform COVID-19 screening tests and ensure access to intensive care,” said the lawyers.

The WHO guidelines state that "since close personal contact promotes the spread of the virus, all competent authorities should make efforts to use alternatives to deprivation of liberty. This approach is imperative especially in situations where the capacity of centers is exceeded."

Lawyers insist that it's ridiculous to keep inmates in jail.

“Authorities should make greater use of alternatives to preventive detention, such as, replacement of sentences, early and interim release; re-evaluate the need to continue non-voluntary hospitalisation of psychiatric patients and refrain from detaining migrants where possible. If the Island is closed and there is an order of confinement, who can escape? It's absurd to have them locked up with serious risk to their health,” they said.

The Judicial Authorities allege that the situation in prison is under control and have systematically denied requests for freedom.

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