[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'*
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
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
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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