Human rights groups are calling for the immediate release of Kifah Awni Qatsh who is being held by Israel in so-called “administrative detention”. The 45 year old mother of two is suffering from a rare immunodeficiency disorder which has developed into a severe case of gangrene and started to eat away at her hand, resulting in the amputation of several fingers.
According to Ahmed Al-Beitawi, a researcher at the International Tadamun (Solidarity) Foundation for Human Rights, Mrs Qatsh was diagnosed with severe narrowing of the arteries in her limbs ten years ago. The disease, he said, moved from to her mouth and gums, causing her to lose some teeth, before attacking her limbs leading to the amputations. “The prisoner,” added Mr. Al-Beitawi, “is also afflicted by rheumatism, stomach ulcers, and breathing difficulties.” Mrs. Qatsh has already undergone several surgical procedures and as winter approaches her condition is likely to deteriorate even further. It is reported that she is suffering as a result of deliberate gross medical neglect by the Israeli authorities.
Kifah Qatsh is a social activist and member of the Huda women’s charity in the city of Ramallah; she was taken into detention on 1st August 2010 after the Israeli authorities ransacked her home and destroyed her property, finding a “secret file” in the process which warranted her arrest. She was transferred to Israel’s Hasharon prison where she was sentenced to 4 months of administrative detention, meaning that there was no trial and her sentence is subject to renewal at the whim of the Israeli authorities. Lawyer Mahmoud Hassan from the Conscience Foundation is working on her case.