At Monday’s weekly sit-in outside the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza City head of “Advocates for Prisoners” organisation Jamal Farwana sent a message of support to Zapatista prisoner Alberto Patishtan, who recently underwent neurosurgery for a brain tumour.
Farwana, who himself spent eight years in Israeli jails, sympathised with the plight of Patishtan, who has been imprisoned for 12 years on trumped-up charges, and was left for several years without treatment for a brain tumour. Farwana noted the similar situation for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, who also suffer medical neglect, and expressed their solidarity with all prisoners world-wide unjustly held by criminal governments, particularly those in Mexico.
The Patishtan case has been widely condemned, both nationally and internationally. Mexican Human Rights organisation Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas reported in October:
“…the Mexican state in 2010 wrongly diagnosed him [Alberto Patishtan] with glaucoma, and in the same year he was admitted to the Better Life Hospital in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas; in the six months he was in hospital, he was not attended professionally or adequately to determine his correct diagnosis and treatment.[i] Also, as of May 12, 2011, the Mexican State knew through a study of his visual fields that “the pattern of his visual field loss tended more towards deteriorating optic atrophy than to a diagnosis of glaucoma”, Patishtán recalls that he underwent a CT scan, and that at no time did the attending physician get the results of that study, thereby making it impossible to give a correct diagnosis, and consequently the appropriate medical treatment.
Later, following his forced and arbitrary transfer to a CEFERESO[ii] in Guasave, Sinaloa, the medical treatment which had been started was not followed up. Following allegations of neglect by Patishtán, investigations were carried out in Guasave and ischemic optic neuropathy was diagnosed; this diagnosis also proved to be incorrect. The state has at all times obstructed Patishtán being given appropriate, adequate and effective medical care. For this reason, this Human Rights Center demands that the Mexican State comply with the precautionary measures (MC 77-12) granted this year by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)[iii] and adopts without delay the measures necessary to ensure the health and personal integrity of Alberto Patishtán.
Following an international outcry, Alberto Patishtan was transferred to the Manuel Velasco Suarez National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery in Mexico City. Chiapas Support Committee reported he was operated on October 8 to remove a brain tumor. The surgery was apparently successful, and he is now recuperating in the Vida Mejor Hospital in Tuxtla Gutierrez, and has recovered 70% of his eyesight – although not yet his freedom.
Meanwhile in Palestine, dozens of ‘Patishtans’ still languish in Israeli jails without medical treatment, and without any significant action by the international community to force Israel to take the measures necessary to ensure the health and integrity of Palestinian prisoners.
La lucha sigue.
[i] 1Doce años de injusto encarcelamiento de Alberto Patishtan Gómez, Colectivo Ik, available in Spanish here: http://es.scribd.com/doc/85087211/Palabra-Colectivo-Ik-Confer-en-confe-Prensa-sobre-caso-Alberto-Patishtan
[ii] Trasladan a CEFERESO de Sinaloa a Alberto Patishtán, vocero de La Voz del Amate available at: http://www.frayba.org.mx/acciones_urgentes.php
[iii] CIDH MC 77/12 – Alberto Patishtán Gómez, México available at: http://www.oas.org/es/cidh/decisiones/cautelares.asp