Increasing blindness among Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails due to medical negligence | @Ufreenetwork @UNISPAL @hrw

MEMO | July 10, 2012

The report points to the number of Palestinian prisoners who are at risk of losing their eyesight completely.

A Palestinian Authority report has recorded an increase in the number of prisoners suffering from loss of vision and deteriorating sight in Israeli jails as a result, it is claimed, of medical negligence.The report by the Ministry of Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs in Ramallah points to the number of Palestinian prisoners who are at risk of losing their eyesight completely. It cites the example of Mustafa Salloum, 24, who has been in Israel’s Megiddo Prison since his arrest in March 2008 and is suffering from severe infections in his right eye socket – he already has an artificial eye – but the prison administration refuses to let him see a specialist.

Salloum has told the ministry that the pain has moved to his left eye and he is afraid that he might lose what sight he has and become totally blind. The prisoner appealed to the International Committee of the Red Cross for prompt intervention to put pressure on the Israeli authorities and urge them to fulfill their promises and move him to Ramle hospital for treatment.

The report also notes the case of Ahmed Nedal El-Neis, 30, detained since September 2009. He can see less than one metre unaided. Rami Rateb El Deek, also 30, suffers from 90 per cent vision loss and 80 per cent hearing loss; as a result, he is unable to see objects more than a metre away or hear anyone next to him.

Firas Mohammed El-Deek, 38, is serving a 12-year sentence and is due for release in 2016. He has problems with his tear ducts and needs surgery urgently. According to the report, the Israelis are stalling on this so he faces the complete loss of his sight; he has started to suffer from permanent dryness in his eyes and resultant anguish.

The report also described the health situation of Ahmed Hotra, 40, who was arrested in 2003 and is serving a 40-year prison sentence, as “extremely poor”. He suffers from a conical cornea in both eyes because he was shot with “dumdum” bullets before his arrest. That resulted in shrapnel wounds to his face and eyes and other parts of his body. Hotra’s case is similar to that of Iyad Mahmoud Taleb Nassar (33 years), another prisoner who suffers from 50 per cent loss of sight due to shrapnel in his eyes; he also faces total blindness.

Other case histories noted by the ministry report include Muhammad Ali Adwan, 21, acute inflammation in his left eye, and white water resulting in sight loss; Mohammed Khamis Brash, 32, severe pain and loss of eyesight; Muhammad Tawfiq Guadrh, 35, a disease of the nerves which affects the sight leading to gradual blindness; and Yasser Nabil Sharbati, 34, detached retina which means he has severely restricted vision.



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