Teen loses eyesight due to Israeli prison neglect

Palestinian teenager Hassan Abdulkhaleq Mizher Tamimi lost his eyesight after he was subjected to life-threatening medical neglect by Israeli prison authorities.

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

Israeli authorities provided him with none of that since his arrest more than two months ago, and his medical condition deteriorated sharply until he slipped into a coma. It was only then that he was finally transferred from the Ofer prison clinic to Shaare Zedek medical center on 28 May.

Pictures of Tamimi circulated on social media after he awoke from his coma:

When he awoke from his coma, Tamimi had lost virtually all his vision, according to Al Ghad TV.

Tamimi told Al Ghad TV about his mistreatment following his arrest, including being beaten, tightly shackled and denied food for a full day.

“Still feels like he’s in prison”

Shaare Zedek hospital released Tamimi on Sunday and he was transferred to a medical center in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah to continue his treatment. Israeli authorities had ignored numerous earlier requests from his family to transfer him.

Tamimi’s mother Ibtisam told Al Ghad TV that Israeli authorities had also ignored her pleas to take her son’s illness seriously after his arrest.

Even though Tamimi was temporarily released after he lost his vision, his next military court hearing will still be held in the next few weeks.

If Tamimi’s medical condition improves, the Israeli military may return him to prison, his father Abdulkhaleq told Al Ghad TV.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Hassan Tamimi’s mother said that her son “still feels like he’s in prison” and that he is constantly anxious and “very scared.”

Tamimi, from the village of Deir Nitham in the occupied West Bank, was arrested on 7 April for allegedly throwing stones, 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.

Extending detention without charge or trial

Meanwhile, the Israeli military reportedly extended the detention of Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar on 14 June.

Mustafa Barghouti, also a legislator, denied the reports, stating that Jarrar’s administrative detention hasn’t yet been extended for a third time.

The conflicting reports about whether Jarrar’s detention has been renewed highlight the arbitrary nature of administrative detention. Jarrar has been held without charge or trial since July 2017.

She is one of hundreds of prisoners held by Israel in administrative detention which can be renewed indefinitely.

“As an administrative detainee, she has not been made privy to the information used to deny her of her freedom, and thus has not had a genuine chance to refute claims made against her,” stated Palestinian prisoners rights group Addameer, renewing their call on Israel to release Jarrar.

No books

Jarrar’s daughter, Suha Jarrar, stated that Israel’s secret police, the Shin Bet, has banned her mother from receiving books in prison.

“Today, as I registered for visitation at HaSharon prison and attempted to admit two novels that mom had asked for, I was informed that the Israeli intelligence forces made a decision to ban mom from receiving any books while detained,” Suha wrote.

When Suha asked the Israeli jailer why, she was told it was the contents of the books she brought last time, which were studies published by Madar – the Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies. Madar’s are “amongst the few books of political content that are regularly allowed inside Israeli prisons,” according to Suha.

“When I asked the officer whether this was a punitive measure, she affirmed that it was,” Suha wrote.

Suha noted that this wasn’t the first time Israeli authorities refused the entry of books, but it was the first time it was done as a punitive measure.

According to Suha, when she challenged the decision, the Israeli jailer admitted, “yes, it’s illegal.”


Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.