Israel medics endanger Palestinian prisoners’ lives: Rights group

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Palestinians demonstrate in support of hunger strikers in Israeli prisons on April 09, 2013.

PressTV | Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:33PM GMT

According to Palestinian sources, over 4,500 Palestinian prisoners are held in Israeli prisons, many of them without charge or trial, and are subject to human rights violations such as the use of torture during interrogations.

Israeli medics have been condemned by a rights group for endangering the lives of Palestinian prisoners, especially those who are on hunger strike.

On Thursday, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel called on the Health Ministry to transfer responsibility for providing inmates with medical treatment to an external body, AFP reported.

“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,” the rights group said in a special report prepared ahead of next week’s Palestinian Prisoner Day.

It slammed the Israeli Prisons Service (IPS) in particular, saying it violates medical ethics and international law.

“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,” the rights group said.

The abuse the report 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.”

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.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian Minister for Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe said on Wednesday that a prisoner died mysteriously behind bars, the third inmate who has died in an Israeli jail over the past couple of months.

On April 2, cancer-stricken Maisarah Abu Hamdiah lost his life in an Israeli jail after he was denied medical care by prison authorities.

Arafat Jaradat, 30, who was arrested on February 18 on suspicion of hurling stones at Israeli troopers, died days later in Israel’s Magiddo prison. The Israeli regime claims that Jaradat died of cardiac arrest, a claim Palestinians deny.

On Wednesday, Palestinians staged a sit-in in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

The sit-in was held to raise awareness on the condition of Palestinian prisoners and hunger strikers such as Samer Issawi, who was arrested in July 2012 only months after being released as part of a prisoner swap deal between the Israeli regime and the Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas.

Issawi has been on hunger strike to protest against his administrative detention, which is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows the Tel Aviv regime to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods of time.

According to Palestinian sources, over 4,500 Palestinian prisoners are held in Israeli prisons, many of them without charge or trial, and are subject to human rights violations such as the use of torture during interrogations.

MN/MHB

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