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‘Palestinian prisoners in Israel do not get proper cancer treatment’

Ahmad al-Mudellel (C), one of the leaders of Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, speaks to press during a demonstration to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in front of the United Nations High Commissioner's building in Gaza City, Gaza on 22 November 2016. [Ashraf Amra - Anadolu Agency]
Ahmad al-Mudellel (C), one of the leaders of Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, speaks to press during a demonstration to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in front of the United Nations High Commissioner's building in Gaza City, Gaza on 22 November 2016. [Ashraf Amra - Anadolu Agency]

The Palestine Prisoners’ Centre for Studies said on Tuesday that 23 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel suffer from cancer but do not receive adequate treatment or healthcare from the prison authorities, Safa news agency has reported. The Israeli Prison Service only provides painkillers for such patients, it is alleged.

The Director of the Centre, Riyadh Al-Ashqar explained that Sami Abu Dayyak, 36, from Jenin, has been in prison for 16 years and has advanced intestinal cancer. Al-Ashqar, who is a former prisoner himself, said that Abu Dayyak is close to death, and accused the Israelis of killing him slowly and painfully by not offering adequate medical care.

He cited a number of other prisoners as examples of those in desperate need of operations and treatment for their cancers, including Yaser Rabayeh, 44, from Bethlehem, who has been in prison since 2011 and also has intestinal cancer; Bassam Al-Sayeh, 45, from Nablus, who has bladder, blood and bone cancer, and is also in urgent need of heart surgery; and Fuad Al-Shobaki, at 79 the oldest such prisoner and in poor health generally, who also suffers from bladder cancer.

Al-Ashqar pointed out that even prisoners who are diagnosed with cancer whilst in prison and are released tend to die at home shortly thereafter due to lack of adequate treatment. He called on all local, regional and international bodies involved in prisoner issues to put pressure on the Israeli occupation authorities to offer proper medical treatment to Palestinian prisoners held in their jails.

READ: Palestinian prisoners at heart of Israel’s elections

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