Left to Die Slowly: Palestinian Detainee Naser Abu Hmeid Dies in New Crime of Systematic Medical Negligence Policy in Israeli Prisons
Date: 20 December 2022
Time: 08:00 GMT
This morning, Naser Abu Hmeid (50), a Palestinian detainee in the Israeli prisons, died at Assaf Harofeh Hospital in Israel after battling lung cancer for more than a year. Abu Hmeid’s health condition got worse due to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) systematic medical negligence policy against the sick prisoners.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) calls for a prompt and impartial investigation into Abu Hmeid’s death circumstances and is alarmingly concerned that the Israeli occupation authorities procrastinated providing him the immediate and proper medical treatment and exposed him to torture and willful killing. PCHR also condemns the Israeli occupation authorities’ disregard for the recurrent local, regional, and international calls to release him. Although the Israeli authorities were fully aware that he had cancer spread throughout his body, they left him to die slowly, refusing to allow him to spend the last days of his life with his family and friends.
Abu Hmeid had been under arrest since 2002 and was serving 5 life sentences in addition to 50 years on accusations of taking part in resistance acts against the Israeli occupation forces. Last August, his health condition deteriorated as he started feeling pains in his chest until it turned out that he had a tumor in his lung that was removed along with 10 centimeters of the part surrounding it. Afterwards, he was referred to “Ashkelon” prison, leading to this serious health condition. Later when doctors decided him chemotherapy, he was again exposed to deliberate procrastination by not providing him the necessary treatment as well as denying family visits until his last moments; however, he lately started receiving chemotherapy after the disease spread throughout his body. Abu Hmeid went into a coma yesterday at noon and was taken from al-Ramlah clinic, where he was staying, to Assaf Haroveh Hospital, where he was pronounced dead yesterday.
Abu Hmeid’s death sheds light on the general deterioration of 4700 Palestinian detainees’ conditions in the Israeli prisons, including 150 children and 33 women, detained in inhuman and cruel circumstances that lack the standard minimum rules of the treatment of prisoners and detainees in detention. Among the detainees, there are 600 ill detainees; some of them suffer chronic and serious diseases.
PCHR hereby holds the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for the death of Palestinian detainee Abu Hmeid and warns that lives of hundreds of ill detainees would face the same fate if the policy of deliberate medical negligence and willful killing continued, especially under the unhealthy imprisonment conditions where prisoners are denied adequate healthcare. Similarly, PCHR:
- Calls upon the International Criminal Court’s Prosecutor to end his hesitancy and open an investigation into the entire Palestinian situation and in particular the situation of the detainees in the Israeli prisons, especially those suffering diseases.
- PCHR emphasizes that leaving a detainee with cancer to face his fate to die in prison is considered one of the worst forms of retaliation and in no doubt amounts to a war crime that is triggered by the highest political and security echelons.
- Calls upon the International Committee of Red Crescent (ICRC) to intensify and ensure efficacy of their follow-up of Palestinian detainees’ conditions in Israeli prisons and their detention conditions.
- Calls upon the international community to compel Israel to respect the rules of the international law and international humanitarian law, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.