Al Mezan Center for Human Rights calls on the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Gaza to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Shadi Haidar Nofal, 41, who died at Al-Aqsa Hospital shortly after he was found unconscious in police custody.
On Monday evening, 5 July 2021, the Ministry of Interior in Gaza issued a press release announcing Nofal’s death at Al-Aqsa Hospital in the Middle Area District, where the man lived. According to the statement, Nofal suffered from chronic diseases and was hospitalized on 30 June 2021.
The director of Deir Al-Balah’s Detention and Rehabilitation Center told Al Mezan that Nofal had been apprehended at Nuseirat Camp’s police station, in the Middle Area District, and then transferred and detained at the Deir Al-Balah Center on 14 April 2021. At around 7:30am on Wednesday, 30 June 2021, Nofal fell unconscious and was immediately transferred to the hospital, he added. The following day, Nofal reportedly had a brief recovery. However, on 5 July 2021, he was placed in intensive care in a coma. He was pronounced dead around 10pm the same day.
Nofal’s body is currently in the custody of the Forensic Medicine Department at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, awaiting an autopsy to determine the causes of death, which is expected to be conducted in the presence of a physician delegated by the Independent Commission for Human Rights and the man’s next of kin. An official report is yet to be published.
As in all cases of death concerning detainees in police custody, Al Mezan calls on the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Gaza to launch a serious and prompt investigation into Nofal’s death and the circumstances of his detention, in line with The Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death. Al Mezan will continue to follow this case with the competent authorities and will publish its findings.