An Arab member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, has accused the country’s prison administration of “slow murder” following the death in custody of Maysara Abu-Hamdiyya. Haneen Zoabi, MK, blamed the Internal Security Minister for medical negligence after Mr Abu-Hamdiyya was prevented from having proper treatment for his throat cancer. Reports say that he was only given painkillers and water for several months in an Israeli prison.
In a message addressed to Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, Ms Zoabi said that the circumstances of the prisoner’s death point to “murder” through “medical negligence”. The care of prisoners is the responsibility of the Internal Security Ministry, she added, so the minister must also take full responsibility for the protests by other prisoners in the wake of Abu-Hamdiyya’s death.
Zoabi demanded an urgent investigation into medical negligence in prisons with a focus on this particular case. She wants to know why the prisoner was not given adequate treatment even after the late diagnosis of his disease. An earlier diagnosis through proper screening could, it is alleged, have prevented the rapid spread of the cancer. The MK also called for independent observers to look at the work of the Internal Security Ministry and prisons, especially with regards to medical follow-up and treatment of prisoners.
Naming the following Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel, Ms Zoabi insisted on a statement from the minister on their health status: Samer Al-Issawi, Iyad Jarjawi, Nasim Kattab, Yahya Salama, Akram Alrikhawi, Ashraf Abu Zraie , Nabil Natsheh, Abdul Salam Bani Odeh, Tamim Salem, Alaa Hassouna, Zakaria Hassan, Mahmoud Shabana, Alaa Al-Hams, Walid Akl, Ahmed Abu Al-Rub, Raed Drabiah, Abdelkader Musalma, Mourid Al-Akhras, and Samer Abu Ayash.