On Sunday, 25 September 2016, the Soroka Medical Center in Israel announced the death of Palestinian detainee Yaser Diyab Hamdona, 40, from Ya’bad village in Jenin, West Bank. At the time of his death, Hamdona was in the intensive care unit at Soroka, as his health condition had critically deteriorated. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Al Mezan) holds the Israeli authorities responsible for the death of Hamdona who voiced continued medical concerns yet was refused appropriate medical care.
Hamdona was arrested on 19 June 2003, and was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment. He was serving his sentence at Rimon prison. During his time in prison, severe bleeding developed in his brain and he was referred to Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva.
According to the information available to Al Mezan, Hamdona’s health continued to be marked by his assault by Israeli soldiers before being jailed. He was referred to the clinic of Al Ramla prison to receive medical treatment, however, it was reported that the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) did not provide appropriate medical care and treatment for him.
Hamdona is not the first victim of medical negligence in Israeli prisons and detention centers. There have been tens of detainees held in Israeli prisons who died as a direct result of medical negligence. Additionally, tens of ex-detainees have died shortly after their release and where evidence has shown that the deterioration of their health was due to inappropriate health care that they had received in the prisons.
Al Mezan strongly condemns Israel’s continued policy of medical negligence and expresses its deep concern for the life and wellbeing of the patient detainees held in Israeli prisons. Al Mezan asserts that the silence of the international community has encouraged Israeli violations of international law.
Al Mezan strongly condemns Israel’s abuses of Palestinian detainees, which include detention without trial – both under the Unlawful Combatants Law and through Israel’s sweeping use of administrative detention – and numerous procedures that violate basic rights and dignities of the individual, including solitary confinement, medical negligence, and barring of family visitation. Regarding Hamdon’s case, Al Mezan cites in particular the 1955 United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, as well as the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment adopted in 1988, and articles 91 and 92 of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians in Times of War. Hamdon’s case is an example of the longstanding practices and policies employed by Israeli authorities against Palestinian prisoners and detainees.
Al Mezan calls on civil society and governments to support the rights of Palestinian prisoners and detainees by exposing violations of international law. Al Mezan calls on the international community to promptly intervene and to ensure Israel’s respect of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in dealing with Palestinian prisoners and detainees.