[Ppnews] Rights abuses by Israel prison medics 'endanger lives'

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Apr 12 13:02:25 EDT 2013


*Rights abuses by Israel prison medics 'endanger lives'*

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=584894
Published yesterday (updated) 12/04/2013 10:41

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Human rights violations by medics working for 
Israel's prison service are endangering the lives of both Israeli and 
Palestinian inmates, especially hunger strikers, a watchdog said on 
Thursday.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel strongly urged the transfer of 
responsibility for prisoners' health from the Israel Prisons Service to 
the health ministry in order to ensure detainees' health was put ahead 
of "security considerations".

"Medical ethics and human rights violations carried out by the IPS, 
specifically by prison medical practitioners... endangered the lives of 
prisoners and detainees on hunger strike," PHR said in a report.

The abuses it cited included "preventing independent physicians from 
examining and monitoring the medical condition of hunger strikers... and 
blocking the transfer of prisoners on hunger strike to civilian hospitals."

The deteriorating health of several prisoners on long-term hunger strike 
in Israeli jails has prompted thousands of other prisoners to stage 
shorter-term fasts and sparked widespread protests on the Palestinian 
street.

It also raised the recent death from cancer of a long-term Palestinian 
prisoner, whose demise sparked violent protests and prompted the 
Palestinian Authority to accuse Israel of medical negligence.

PHR also expressed concern over the case of an Australian-Israeli 
national called Ben Zygier, a reported Mossad agent who was locked away 
in 2010 under top-secret conditions and later hanged himself in his cell.

It said the prison medical service "operates according to political and 
security considerations rather than medical considerations... (and) 
worsens situations of dual loyalty, a problem already rampant among 
medical practitioners employed by the IPS."

The group said responsibility for health issues should be transferred 
from the prisons service to the health ministry.

"PHR-Israel calls for the establishment of a committee that will examine 
the possibility of transferring control and responsibility for the 
medical services inside the prisons from the Israeli Prison Services to 
the Ministry of Health," it said.

"Such a transfer would make the level, availability, and quality of 
services, equal -- if not on par -- with the type of services accessed 
by the general population," it said.

In countries that had made a similar transition of responsibility, 
"considerable improvements are noticeable... with regards to 
improvements in the level of services (and) in the amount of harm 
sustained as a result of rights-based offenses."

Meanwhile, in a related development the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper 
printed excerpts from a letter addressed to Israelis from long-term 
hunger striker Samer Issawi, who medics say is very close to death's 
door after refusing food since August.

"I am Samer al-Issawi, 'one of them Arabs' in your army's terms. That 
Jerusalemite you locked up for no good reason but that he decided to 
leave Jerusalem to the city's outskirts," he said, referring to his 
arrest on grounds he took his car to be fixed in a West Bank garage in 
violation of the terms of his 2011 release from jail.

"Hear my voice, the voice of remaining time -- mine and yours... Don't 
forget those you have incarcerated in prison and camps, between the iron 
doors that imprison your consciousness," he wrote.

"I'm not waiting for a prison guard to free me, I'm waiting for the one 
who frees you of my memory."

Haaretz said Issawi had handed the letter to several Israeli women who 
had begun visiting Kaplan hospital in Rehovot where he being held.

He was one of hundreds of long-term security prisoners released by 
Israel under a prisoner swap deal in October 2011, but he was rearrested 
in July last year following allegations that he violated the terms of 
the agreement by leaving East Jerusalem and going into the West Bank.
-- 
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863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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