Maysara Abu Hamdieh died yesterday in the intensive care unit of the Israeli Soroka Hospital due to medical neglect in Israeli custody. Maysara, who had been held in administrative detention several times before his deportation to Jordan, was serving a life sentence at the time of his death.
His health seriously deteriorated only two years into his sentence in 2007. The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) failed to provide him adequate medical attention and care, including access to regular medical examinations. Maysara's death is not an exception but part of Israel's systemic ill-treatment of its Palestinian detainees. He is the 5th prisoner to die in Israeli custody due to medical neglect in the past 2 years bringing the total number of Palestinian prisoner deaths to 207, including 52 who have died as a result of medical neglect. At present, approximately, 1,000 of the approximate 4,600 Palestinian prisoners suffer from illness, including 25 who suffer from cancer.
The Fourth Geneva Convention obligates an Occupying Power to provide adequate food and medical care to detainees in its custody, (Art. 91 and 92). Failure to do so in ways that evidence willful killing, torture, or inhuman treatment constitute grave breaches of the Convention and are tantamount to a war crimes.
The Palestinian Human Rights Organization Council (PHROC) calls upon the international community to respond accordingly to the death of Maysara and the ill treatment of all Palestinian political prisoners. In its statement issued today, it explains:
The PHROC therefore demands that the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon immediately intervene and form an international committee charged with investigating the circumstances surrounding the health of and medical care provided to Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli custody, as well as the circumstances of the Maysra Abu Hamdiya’s death, and intervene to secure the release of all sick prisoners.
PHROC also reiterates its call for a European Union fact-finding mission to investigate the treatment of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons.
The PHROC further demands that the delegation of the ICRC operating in the occupied Palestinian territory respect its mission and obligations based on its international mandate as the guardian of international humanitarian law to guarantee that Palestinian detainees and prisoners receive adequate medical care