Press Release

Palestinian Prisoner Dies in Israeli Prison

Ref.,: 96/2000

Date: 12th August, 2000

On Friday 11 August 2000, a Palestinian prisoner Ramez Fayez Mohamed Rashid Elrzi, 25 years old, from El Nusseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, died in his cell in El Nafha prison located in Israel. Elrzi was arrested by the Israeli Occupation Forces seven months ago in Alafolah. He was convicted of entering Israel without the required permit and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

According to information gathered by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, the family of Elrzi was informed of his death by the Palestinian police. On 9 August 2000, the father visited his son for the last time and reported that he was in relatively good health.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights was informed that immediately after his death, the prisoner was transferred for a postmortem examination in Israel. The Centre was further informed of ongoing communication between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities regarding the postmortem. Palestinian authorities requested that:

  1. The family be present during the autopsy; and
  2. A Palestinian forensic surgeon participate in the examination.

The death of Elrzi recalls the inhumane conditions to which Palestinians prisoners are subjected in Israeli prisons. These conditions have long been denounced by several human rights organisations who report ongoing degrading treatment of Palestinians prisoners inside Israeli jails, leading in some tragic cases, to death.

In view of the above, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights calls upon the international community to investigate the circumstances which led to the death of Elrzi. Furthermore, the Centre calls upon the international community to pressure Israel to respect and ensure respect of international humanitarian law, particularly with regard to the non-observance by Israel of minimum standards of treatment vis a vis Palestinian prisoners.

In addition, the Centre, calls for the respect by the State of Israel of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which in its article 49 prohibits the transfer of protected persons under the Convention, from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power.