Creating new perspectives since 2009

Palestinian prisoner dies in Israeli custody after being denied cancer treatment

February 15, 2014 at 1:25 pm

A Palestinian being held prisoner by Israel has died in hospital after being denied proper treatment for cancer over several months. Maysara Abu-Hamdiyya, 65, died on Tuesday morning in an Israeli hospital after suffering from throat cancer. Until he was moved to a proper hospital last week, Mr Abu-Hamdiyya was only “treated” with painkillers and water, it is alleged.

The Palestinian Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, Isa Qaraqe, announced Abu-Hamdiyya’s death, saying that he died after being in a coma for several days.

According to Waed Association for Prisoners and Former Prisoners’ Affairs, the deceased was admitted to the clinic of Al-Ramla Prison where he lost the ability to speak on February 27; at that stage, a large growth appeared on his neck. Although the Israeli Prison Service refused at first to treat his cancer, officials changed their mind when other prisoners threatened to take protest action. Only then was Abu-Hamdiyya admitted to hospital, where he was held under strict security, including handcuffs and leg chains.

When he became unresponsive to treatment a few days ago, PA officials petitioned Israel to let him die at home. Mr Qaraqe said on Sunday that the Israelis had promised to release him.

The Minister of Prisoners’ affairs in Gaza, Atallah Abul-Sobah, condemned the “miserable” Israeli treatment of Palestinian prisoners, “which led to Abu-Hamdiyya’s death”. He pointed out that 208 prisoners have now died in Israeli custody. “This needs a new intifada to get the prisoners released before that figure becomes 220, 230 or more,” he said, calling on the Arab League to take immediate action.

Maysara Abu-Hamdiyya was a Major-General in the Palestinian security forces in the occupied West Bank. He was detained by the Israeli occupation forces in May 2002 and convicted of helping Palestinian fighters. He was serving a life sentence when he died.