Palestinian prisoner dies after “medical neglect”

Portrait of a man against a blank backdrops in prisoners' clothing

Ahmad Abu Ali

The Palestinian Prisoners Club

A Palestinian prisoner has died in Israeli custody with less than two years remaining in his sentence.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club accused Israeli prison authorities of medical negligence in the case of Ahmad Abu Ali, who had been incarcerated for more than 10 years, and is holding them fully responsible for his death.

The 47-year-old died on 10 February at the Soroka Medical Center in southern Israel after suffering a health deterioration.

He was from Yatta, a Palestinian city in the Hebron governorate in the occupied West Bank. Israel had been detaining him since 2012 with a 12-year sentence.

In the course of his imprisonment, he suffered from a multitude of illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease.

“This was accompanied by the prison administration’s deliberate procrastination in providing him with the necessary treatment,” the Palestinian Prisoners Club asserted.

His family said that the Negev prison authorities had recently reduced the insulin treatment he was receiving, according to the London-based Arabic-language daily al-Quds al-Arabi.

He spent time at the Ramle prison clinic, which did not have the necessary facilities for his treatment, after undergoing a recent heart catheterization operation. His family emphasized that Israeli prison authorities did not provide him with full care after the operation.

Israeli prison authorities’ medical negligence is one of many “systematic tools” used against prisoners, and it has been the “central reason” of many prisoners’ deaths during recent years, the group claimed.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said it was “strongly concerned that [Abu Ali] might be a new victim of the medical negligence policy in the Israeli prisons.”

The group said it holds Israel responsible “for the lives of hundreds of ill detainees, who might face the same fate if the policy of deliberate medical negligence continued.”

The group called for an investigation into the circumstances that led to Abu Ali’s death.

The death of Abu Ali brings to 235 the number of Palestinian prisoners who have died in Israeli custody since 1967. Seventy-five died as a consequence of medical negligence, according to records by the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

Currently, Israel imprisons more than 4,700 Palestinians, including 160 children.

Over 900 are held in administrative detention, in which Palestinians are held without charge or trial while unable to see or challenge the evidence against them.

Such orders are typically issued for six-month periods but can be renewed indefinitely. This Israeli practice is handed down from British colonial rule.


Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.