Cancer-stricken Palestinian dies in Israeli custody

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, a Palestinian jailed in Israel, died in an Israeli hospital on Tuesday, after protests to secure his release failed.

Hamdiyeh was transferred from prison to Soroka hospital in late March suffering from throat cancer which had spread to his spinal cord.

Prisoners in Eshel and Nafha prisons had launched hunger strikes to demand Abu Hamdiyeh’s release.

Issa Qaraqe, the Palestinian Authority prisoners minister, said Abu Hamdiyeh’s cancer spread because he did not receive treatment earlier.

“It is a brutal crime against Maysara especially that the prison administration knew that he was suffering from cancer and they didn’t release him and medically neglected him,” Qaraqe told Ma’an.

Qaraqe said Israeli prison authorities had medically neglected Abu Hamdiyeh over several years. The minister held the Israeli government responsible for Abu Hamdiyeh’s death and called for an international committee to investigate Israel’s failure to provide him treatment earlier.

Abu Hamdiyeh, a Fatah leader from Hebron, was detained in 2002 and sentenced to life.

Earlier in March, he told his lawyer that he was only receiving pain killers to treat his cancer. He said he was not receiving health care inside the prison and was only treated when he was taken to the Soroka Hospital.

The trips to Soroka hospital were “another journey of suffering,” he told his lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoners Society.

During the prison visit, Abu Maysara “seemed unable to hold up his head” and had difficulty speaking, the lawyer said. He had lost 15 kg.

Political leaders and factions condemned the death of Abu Hamdiyeh, who was the 207th Palestinian to die in Israeli custody.

The Arab Liberation Front said Israel’s prison services had killed Abu Hamdiyeh “with cold blood.”

Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghouti, a doctor, called for an international criminal investigation into the detainee’s death.

Fatah central committee member Abbas Zaki said Israel had medically neglected Abu Hamdiyeh and left him to die. Israel is responsible for the death, Zaki said.

The head of the Palestinian Higher Judicial Council, Sheikh Yousif Ideis, said Israel’s prison administration did not respect the human rights of detainees and refused to treat Abu Hamdiyeh. All detainees have rights which Israel must respect, the sheikh said.

Fatah called for popular marches in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.

(Source / 02.04.2013)

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