Israel detains physician to extract information on his patients

PCHR condemns Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) for detaining Dr. Nabih Abu Sha’ban last Tuesday as he was accompanying his son seeking medical treatment in Jordan, going through Beit Hanoun (Erez) checkpoint. The Centre calls upon the international community and relevant international organizations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to intervene and pressure IOF to immediately release Dr. Abu Shaban, who himself is suffering from illness. The Centre calls upon these parties to effectively intervene to ensure the safe passage of patients from the Strip to treatment facilities outside the territory so as to avert deterioration in their conditions.

PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that on Tuesday, 6 November 2007, IOF detained Dr. Nabih Abu Shaíban (52), a neurosurgeon from Gaza City, at Erez checkpoint. Abu Sha’ban was accompanying his son, suffering from kidney problems, to Jordan for medical treatment. Abu Sha’ban was detained despite having permission from IOF to pass through. Medical reports indicate that Dr. Abu Sha’ban is suffering from several illnesses. He previously underwent heart surgery. In addition, he suffers from diabetes and high-blood pressure that require medication on a regular basis.

The Center’s lawyer visited Dr. Abu Sha’ban in al-Majdal prison on Monday, 12 November 2007. He informed the lawyer that he is being questioned about patients he treated in Gaza.

The detention of Dr. Nabih Abu Sha’ban is an arbitrary arrest perpetrated by IOF with the aim of hindering the movement of patients from the Gaza Strip who need medical treatment abroad due to the lack of adequate facilities in the strip.

PCHR condemns the arbitrary arrest of Dr. Nabih Abu Sha’ban, and calls for his immediate release since his arrest is motivated by his work in a humanitarian profession of treating patients and wounded in Gaza. Medical professionals not only enjoy protection under International Humanitarian Law, but also enjoy special protection under Article 20 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. This article stipulates protection and respect for professionals working in the operation and administration of hospitals, including ambulance crews, nurses, and paramedics transporting the wounded from the field of operations. In addition, Article 31 of the Convention bans any measure of physical or psychological coercion against protected individuals, especially with the aim of obtaining information.

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