Tamimi teen slipped into coma due to Israeli prison neglect

Imprisoned Palestinian teenager Hassan Abdulkhaleq Mizher Tamimi was subjected to life-threatening medical neglect by Israeli authorities.

Tamimi, 18, has a serious medical condition in his liver and kidneys, which makes him unable to absorb proteins. He requires a strict vegetarian diet, medicines and periodic tests at the hospital.

Israeli authorities provided him with none of that since his arrest two months ago, and his medical condition deteriorated sharply.

As his situation worsened, Israeli authorities refused to transfer Tamimi to a hospital or provide necessary treatment, his relative Muhammad Tamimi told Wattan TV.

Tamimi vomited for four days and slipped into a coma before he was finally transferred from the Ofer prison clinic to Shaare Zedek medical center on 28 May, according to prisoners rights group Addameer.

Tamimi’s family said that the Israeli occupation authorities bore full responsibility for their son’s life.

“My son was supposed to be transferred to a hospital when he started throwing up. The cause of his coma is the fact that he was not provided with any medical service in detention,” his father told Addameer.

The family urged human rights organizations to exert pressure on Israel to treat and release the teenager.

Evading blame

Tamimi’s lawyer Ahmad Safiya visited him in the hospital on Monday.

“When I arrived at the detainee’s room, none of the medical staff were there, despite the apparent severity of his condition, he stated, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

“After I called on them, the medical staff immediately placed him on respirators.”

Safiya added that despite a decision by doctors to place Tamimi in intensive care immediately, it took two more hours for the transfer to take place.

Safiya said that Israeli authorities told him they had decided to release Tamimi, having ignored numerous requests to do so earlier.

The prisoners club said occupation authorities appear to have realized the seriousness of Tamimi’s condition and were releasing him only to evade their responsibility for him.

However the prisoners club stated that military authorities held a hearing on Tamimi’s case at Ofer prison on Wednesday and had decided to postpone further consideration of it until 25 July.

Hassan Tamimi is now recovering, his relative Manal Tamimi wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the lawyer Safiya confirmed that Tamimi was out of grave danger and was now stable, but required ongoing intensive medical care.

Tamimi, from the village of Deir Nitham in the occupied West Bank, was arrested on 7 April, approximately one month after he turned 18.

He is part of the extended Tamimi family that is the frequent target of collective punishment, imprisonment and harassment by Israeli occupation forces.

One of its most well-known members, teenager Ahed Tamimi from the village of Nabi Saleh, is currently in Israeli military custody for shoving and slapping a heavily armed occupation soldier.

Another member of the family, Asem Tamimi, was released from Israeli prison after over a year, Manal Tamimi wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

Body as a bargaining chip

Meanwhile, Israel is refusing to return the body of Palestinian prisoner Aziz Awisat, who died after being severely beaten in Israeli prison, Gilad Erdan, Israel’s hardline “public security” minister, announced.

Israeli media reported that Erdan was trying to “pressure Hamas to return the bodies of killed Israeli soldiers in Gaza” through his decision, according to Ma’an News Agency.

Israel’s internal secret police Shin Bet and the Israel Prison Service both reportedly oppose Erdan’s decision in fear of Palestinian protests, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to make the final call.

Israel bears full responsibility for the death of Aziz Awisat, Palestinian human rights and prisoner advocacy groups say.

Awisat, 53, was severely beaten by Israeli officers after allegedly pouring hot water on a guard in Beersheba prison on 2 May.

Awisat’s health deteriorated and he suffered a stroke earlier this month. He passed away in a hospital near Tel Aviv on 20 May.

“The Israel Prison Service has adopted a policy of deliberate medical neglect against prisoners and detainees,” Addameer stated.

Dozens of Palestinian detainees have died due to medical negligence since Israel began its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967.




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Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.