Deceased Palestinian prisoner Sa’adi al-Gharably (Photo via Twitter)

Systematic medical negligence continues to kill Palestinian prisoners 

Bethlehem/ PNN/ By Najib Farraj-

With the martyrdom of the Palestinian prisoner, Saadi Al-Gharabli from Gaza Strip on Monday, the number of prisoners who have passed away due to the systematic medical negligence policy by the Israeli Prison Service increased to 68.

The 75-year-old was suffering from a number of health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure as well as poor hearing and eyesight, and had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

According to his family, Gharably had been denied family visits, and appeals to Israeli authorities to release him, especially after his health condition worsened dramatically over the past four months, had been turned down.

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Meanwhile, 73 prisoners were killed as a result of torture, while 75 prisoners were deliberately killed after their arrest, and (7) prisoners were martyred as a result of being shot in the detention center. There are also dozens of prisoners who were martyred shortly after their release from prison due to diseases that they inherited from the detention and its tragic conditions: such as the martyr prisoners Murad Abu Sakout, Hayel Abu Zaid, Ashraf Abu Draie, and many others.

Systematic Medical Negligence 

In his interview with a PNN reporter, former Chairman of the Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs Authority, Issa Qaraqe’ stresses that the policy of medical negligence has become a sword hanging over the prisoners ’necks, as the prisoners are exposed to methodologies that inevitably weaken their bodies, targeting them from the organic and psychological aspect. This is represented in the denial of real medical care and the methods of oppression, humiliation, and torture of the detention and interrogation teams and the prisoners affiliated with many Israeli security and military agencies.

Qaraqe’ explained that the methods of weakening the willpower and physical strength of the prisoners are both a tragic bilateral, followed in a state claiming democracy, whose political and judicial system legitimizes torture and psychological pressure against prisoners and detainees in an unprecedented world level that violates international law and is considered a violation of many international treaties and covenants.

950 sick prisoners facing medical negligence 

Qaraqe’ pointed out that 950 difficult medical conditions were still being observed in Israeli prisons suffering from lack of medical care, explaining that through monitoring the health status of the prisoners it became clear that the level of health care had decreased a lot and the treatment became formal and almost non-existent in light of the increase in the number of patients, especially since the outbreak of the intifada In the year 2000, hundreds of wounded, injured and handicapped prisoners were arrested.

The issue of treating sick prisoners has become a subject subject to Israeli prison administration to bargain and blackmail and pressure detainees, and a very dangerous topic in light of the deteriorating health conditions of prisoners to the maximum extent.

According to Qaraqe, this issue is represented in the policy of repeated health neglect and procrastination in providing treatment for those in need, or not conducting surgical procedures for sick prisoners except after the sick prisoner’s colleagues have taken forms of protest steps in order to meet their demands to do so, in addition to not providing effective treatment to the prisoners Patients each according to his suffering. The doctor in Israeli prisons is the only doctor in the world who treats all diseases with a pill tablet called Acamol or a glass of water.

He also revealed, in his monitoring of the occupation violations against the prisoners, that there are no specialized doctors inside the prison, such as ophthalmologists, dentists, nose, ears and throat, and that the prison facilities miss clinics to alternate doctors at night to treat emergency cases, in addition to the absence of supervisors and psychotherapists as there are many troubled psychological cases that need Special supervision.

Qaraqe’ pointed to the lack of medical assistive devices for people with special needs, such as the artificial limbs of missing parties and medical glasses, as well as respirators and sprays for patients with asthma and chronic bronchial infections, noting that the prison authorities also adopt a policy of not providing healthy meals for prisoners that are consistent with the chronic diseases they suffer from. As patients with diabetes, pressure, heart and kidneys, they often presented spoiled foods that led to poisoning.

Tragic detention conditions 

Qaraqe’ revealed in his interview to a PNN correspondent that the poor prisoners from poor conditions of detention are lack of ventilation, extreme humidity and overcrowding, in addition to the severe shortage of general cleaning materials and pesticides as well as the use of violence, gas strikes and assault on the prisoners, exacerbating their diseases.

In daily life conditions, Qaraqe’ revealed that there are no rooms or isolation wards for patients with contagious diseases such as acute infectious viral bowel infections, as well as some infectious diseases such as scabies, which threatens to spread the disease quickly among the prisoners due to the severe crowding inside the detention centers, and that there are no rooms especially for detainees with acute mental illness, which It is a threat to the lives of their colleagues.

He pointed out that Israel violated international conventions criminalizing the torture of prisoners, including transporting sick detainees to receive treatment in hospitals while they were shackled hands and feet in unventilated freight cars instead of transporting them in equipped and comfortable ambulances, and depriving some prisoners with chronic diseases of their medication as a form of punishment within this prison, aside from examining the sick prisoners by looking at them, not touching them, talking to them and healing them from behind the grille doors.

He explained in this context that the punitive measures against the prisoners further deteriorate their psychological conditions, such as the denial of visits and sudden night searches, the placing of prisoners in solitary confinement cells, and forcing the prisoners to take off their clothes.

Qaraqe’ reiterated that the Ramla prison hospital, which is the only hospital to which the sick prisoners are transferred, lacks the medical and health components, as it does not differ from the prison in the procedures and cruel treatment of patients.

Targeting female prisoners

Qaraqe’ continued to explain thoroughly the situation of all Palestinian prisoners, moving on to the female prisoners who suffer from the lack of a specialist or a gynecologist because they have only a general doctor, especially that some of the female prisoners enter prison while they are in need of special health follow-up.

Also, the authorities of the occupation deliberately force pregnant women to give birth while they are handcuffed without consideration For labor and delivery, this happened with the prisoner Mervat Taha from the city of Jerusalem, who gave birth to Wael in the prison while her hands were tied to her bed. Likewise with the prisoner Manal Ghanem from Nablus and her child, Nour.

Regarding the medicine provided to the prisoners and female prisoners, Qaraqe’ said that the occupation authorities provide old and expired medicines for the prisoners, as happened with the prisoner Samir Ajaj, 27 years old, from Tulkarm, who was detained in the Negev prison, who was suffering from severe infections in his eye and in urgent need of surgery, where the doctor gave him a drop to the eye, which was expired. When he saw the doctor, he told him that they do not look at the dates.

Qaraqe ‘revealed a flagrant Israeli breach that Israeli investigators rely on using Israeli investigators for Palestinian prisoners during the interrogation of the sick or wounded prisoner, his health condition, to pressure him to extract confessions from him, and not to provide treatment to him and put him in unhealthy conditions that exacerbate his pain and deteriorate his health.