PALESTINIAN PRISONERS DAY: AL-ISSAWI NEXT TO DIE?
MAD – Media Activists for Detainees
Will Samer Al-Issawi die in an Israeli jail, just like Maysara AbuHamdiya? Or will the international community move today, the International Day for Palestinian Prisoners, to save his life?
GAZA CITY — These are the questions today preying on the minds of 32 sick Palestinians in Israeli jails. Along with, “Which of us will be next?”
Maysara AbuHamdiya, a prisoner for over ten years, died this month following lack of timely medical treatment for throat cancer. Samer Al-Issawi faces imminent heart failure after more than 270 days hunger striking in protest against Israel’s policy of administration detention, and inhumane conditions in Israeli jails.
“My health has deteriorated greatly but I will continue my hunger strike until victory or martyrdom. This is my last remaining stone to throw…” Al-Issawi said in his last letter from prison.
Palestinian Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees reports that as at 31 March 2013 there were 1,200 sick Palestinians prisoners inside Israeli jails, 14 of whom have cancer and 18 of whom are confined in the Ramle Prison Clinic.
Israel shows no signs of introducing minimum standards of medical care anytime soon. In a report titled The Palestinian Prisoners Hunger Strikes of 2012 Physicians For Human Rights-Israel made recommendations regarding the urgent need to transfer prison medical services from the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) to the Ministry of Health, due to the dilemmas of dual loyalty of IPS medical staff and the primacy given to political and security considerations at the expense of prisoners’ health and well-being. It is not to be.
In response to their recommendations, “…the Ministry maintained that supervision and control over the medical services of prisoners would remain under the auspices of the IPS, thereby thwarting our request…” Physicians For Human Rights-Israel stated on their website this week.
Thus despite the best efforts of even local Israeli human rights groups, the dire situation for ailing Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails remains unchanged.
Will Al-Issawi be the 204th Palestinian to die in Israeli custody since 1967? Or will the International Day for Palestinians Prisoners spur the international community into snatching him from the jaws of death?
Issued by: MAD – Media Activists for Detainees, Gaza
Who is MAD? We are! We are Media Activists for Detainees, a collective of young Gazans who are MAD about the use of administrative detention by Israeli authorities to imprison Palestinians without charge. We are MAD about the torture to which our brothers and sisters are subjected during interrogation. We are MAD about the conditions under which they are held in Israeli jails, from lack of timely and adequate medical treatment, to years of solitary confinement, rotten food, strip searches of both detainees and visiting family members, violent midnight cell-raids, random beatings, and the with-holding of family visits.
We are MAD, and we are dangerous – but only to those who with-hold basic human rights from detainees in Israeli jails – and only by exposing their abuses to the world.