European diplomats in Jerusalem hold video call with Palestinian minister after arrest by Israeli police

Al-Hadami, seen here being arrested on CCTV in his home, was detained on suspicion of acting on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as part of its response to the COVID-19 outbreak in East Jerusalem. (Screenshot of his arrest/During an interview/Twitter)
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Updated 08 April 2020

European diplomats in Jerusalem hold video call with Palestinian minister after arrest by Israeli police

  • Al-Hadami says he was assaulted and forced to wear a contaminated face mask

LONDON: Diplomats from several European countries held a video call with Palestine’s Jerusalem affairs minister following his arrest by Israeli police on April 3.

Fadi Al-Hadami was detained for several hours by Israeli police while trying to help Palestinians in East Jerusalem fight the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Al-Hadami says he was assaulted and forced to wear a contaminated face mask during his detention, and his home was broken into and ransacked by Israeli officers.

The UK Consulate in Jerusalem said one of its representatives joined diplomats from Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Sweden and the EU on the video call with Al-Hadami.

“They expressed concern at the 3 April raid by Israeli police on his home, his detention and questioning about his work to prevent the spread of Covid19 in East Jerusalem,” the consulate wrote on social media.

Al-Hadami was arrested on suspicion of acting on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as part of its response to the COVID-19 outbreak in East Jerusalem.

According to a complaint raised by Al-Hadami, who has been in office for a year, Israeli police “brutally” broke into his home, and a search was conducted without family present and in violation of the court-issued warrant, his lawyers said.

According to a Haaretz report, Palestinian sources said police confiscated 10,000 shekels ($2,750) that were intended as charitable donations.

Al-Hadami has been arrested four times by Israeli police since taking office, but has been released on each occasion with no charges brought.

The PA’s Jerusalem Gov. Adnan Ghaith was also arrested on Sunday on suspicion of acting on the authority’s behalf to combat the virus crisis.


Philippines cracks down on clandestine COVID-19 clinics

Updated 29 May 2020

Philippines cracks down on clandestine COVID-19 clinics

  • Intelligence, immigration officials investigating illegal facilities that catered mostly to foreigners

MANILA: The Philippines has intensified its crackdown on uncertified medical facilities offering treatment to people, particularly foreigners, with COVID-19 symptoms.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to help the Philippine National Police (PNP) track down foreign nationals behind the illegal clinics.
“It seems that clandestine medical clinics catering mostly to foreign nationals have sprouted and have been operating without proper authority,” Guevarra told reporters.
He said the facilities could have compromised the health of those who had undergone treatment.
“I’ll therefore ask the NBI and the BI to help the police in locating other similar underground clinics and the people running them, and if warranted, to file the appropriate charges against them,” he added.
Guevarra issued the order following a raid on Tuesday on an illegal clinic catering to Chinese patients in Makati City. Arrested in the operation were Chinese nationals Dr. David Lai, 49, and Liao Bruce, 41.
The clinic was reportedly operating without a permit, while the arrested did not have a license to practice medicine in the country.
Seized from the site were swab sticks, vials, syringes and boxes of medicine with Chinese labels — believed to be unregistered with the Food and Drug Administration.
Last week, law enforcers also swooped on a makeshift hospital for Chinese patients in the Fontana Leisure Park in Clark, Pampanga province.
The raid came after police received information that a COVID-19 patient was “undergoing medical attention” in a Fontana villa.
Arrested during the raid were Chinese nationals Liu Wei, who reportedly supervised the facility, and Hu Shiling, allegedly a pharmacist. Both were released on the same day without charge.
Immigration officials on Thursday said the duo had been placed on their watch list to prevent them from leaving the country while an investigation is underway.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said intelligence operatives will trace four of the patients, and are looking into the case of the Chinese nationals arrested in Makati.
“I’ve instructed our intelligence division to investigate if these alleged Chinese doctors are legally staying in the country,” he said.
“Should we find they violated our immigration laws, they’ll be charged with deportation cases before our law and investigation division,” he added.
“Even if no criminal charges were filed against them, they can be charged for immigration law violations if we can establish that they violated the conditions of their stay in the country.”
If criminal charges are filed, however, the BI will only deport them after their cases have been resolved or they have served their sentences, if convicted.
Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros called for the “immediate deportation and blacklisting” of the Chinese nationals because of their “blatant disregard of our laws.”
She added that while the Philippines is working hard to protect its people from the virus, “these criminals freely roam and pose a danger to public health.”