Red: 90/2019

PCHR Calls for Investigation into Death Circumstances of Prisoner in Gaza

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) calls upon the Attorney General to open an investigation into death circumstances of Mohammed Mahmoud Sa’ed Baker (43), from Gaza City. Baker died in al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, at dawn today, 25 July 2019, after being transferred to the hospital from Taiba Rehabilitation Center, south of Gaza City, due to deterioration of his health condition the day before. PCHR calls upon the Attorney General to publish the results to the public, as primary investigations indicate that the deceased suffered from a heart attack and high blood pressure.

According to Baker family’s statement to PCHR, at approximately 11:00 on Wednesday, 24 July 2019, Baker, who was sentenced to 3 years in prison in a criminal case, was transferred from Taiba Rehabilitation Center to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah after his health condition deteriorated due to a heart attack. At approximately 03:30 on Thursday, 25 July 2019, doctors declared him dead.

On its official website, the Ministry of Interior declared the death of prisoner (M. B.) today in al-Aqsa Hospital after suffering from a heart attack. The Ministry added that the prisoner’s body will be referred to the Forensic Medicine Department to fulfill the legal proceedings.

According to the statement of the Forensic Medicine Department at al-Shifa’ Hospital to PCHR’s fieldworker, Baker suffered from a heart attack and pneumonia that caused his death.

PCHR emphasized that the Attorney General and the Palestinian Prison Service are both responsible for the life and integrity of the prisoners. Thus, PCHR calls upon the Attorney General to open a serious investigation into the incident and publish the results to the public. PCHR also stresses the importance of holding the Public Prosecution Office accountable for their negligence, as this is not the first incident concerning a prisoner’s death while in their custody; yet, no precautionary measures whatsoever were taken.

PCHR calls upon the Attorney General and decision makers in the Gaza Strip to take serious action towards ending the deteriorating status of the detention and investigation facilities, ending use of torture and treating prisoners with dignity, including provision of adequate healthcare, as codified in the 1988 Reform and Rehabilitation Centers Law.