A Palestinian detainee died in an Israeli prison after suffering a stroke on Sunday morning, local media reported.
Yasser Hamdouna, 41, had recently been suffering from health problems according to residents from his village Yaabad in Israel-occupied West Bank.
Palestinian inmates held in Israeli prisons announced a three-day hunger strike following the death of their fellow inmate at an Israeli jail earlier in the morning. The Palestinian detainees staged the strike after news emerged of the death of 41-year-old Yasser Dhiab Hamdouna, who died of a stroke after a failure by Israeli prison officials to provide him with necessary medical care.
The 41-year-old Hamdouna, a resident of the occupied northern West Bank city of Jenein, suffered a stroke on Sunday morning and was pronounced dead upon arrival at an Israeli medical center.
Hamdouna, serving life imprisonment in Ramon jail, had been suffering from recurrent shortness of breath, heart problems as well as agonizing pains in his left ear.
The sources said Hamdouna’s condition further deteriorated in the wake of Israeli prison authorities’ delay in providing treatment for him.
Head of the prisoners’ media office, Abdul Rahman Shedid, said the Israeli prison service had dragged its feet vis-à-vis al-Hamdouna’s cries for help and kept him for over 20 minutes in the prison clinic, where he was pronounced dead following a stroke.
According to Shadid, the prisoners returned their meals in protest at Israel’s preplanned medical neglect. Prisoners in the Ramon, Nafha, and Holikdar also decided to close prison sections. Shadid held the IPS responsible for al-Hamdouna’s death, urging all human rights institutions to speak up against Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinian detainees.
“Hamdouna is one of the victims of Israel’s preplanned executions,” said the head of the prisoners and ex-prisoners committee, Issa Qaraqe. Spokesperson for the Palestine Center for Studies, Reyad al-Ashqar, said Hamdouna has been suffering since 2014 from unbearable earaches and did not receive treatment despite his frequent cries for help. Hamdouna, was arrested on June 19, 2003, and sentenced to life on charges of anti-occupation resistance. Human rights groups say at least 208 Palestinians have lost their lives in Israeli prisons and detention centers, 55 of whom died as result of medical negligence.
The Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Commission said Hamdouna had been undergoing treatment for several health conditions, some of which they said stemmed from physical abuse inflicted by Israeli prison guards in 2003, according to the official news agency Wafa.
The Hamas movement reacted with outrage after 41-year-old Palestinian detainee Yasser Thiyab Hamduna died in Israeli custody Sunday morning, calling on the Palestinians to “retaliate” and on the international community to hold Israel accountable for its medical neglect of incarcerated Palestinians.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri meanwhile urged the international community to “quit dealing in double standards and hold the (Israeli) occupation responsible for the violations and neglect of Palestinian prisoners that suffer in Israeli jails.”
Hamas’ condemnation came as the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs reported that the Israeli central court in the Negev ordered that an autopsy would be carried out at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv, in the presence of Palestinian doctors.
After committee lawyer Yousif Nasasra requested that Hamduna’s body be returned, the court ordered that it would returned once the autopsy was carried out.
Meanwhile, Palestinian prisoners held by Israel announced a three-day hunger strike in protest and mourning following the news that Hamduna had died of a stroke in Israel’s Ramon prison.
The Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs reported on Sunday afternoon that IPS forces had raided a number of sections in Nafha prison and assaulted Palestinian prisoners, following a protest by the detainees over Hamduna’s death.
Local sources in Hamduna’s hometown of Yaabad in the northern occupied West Bank district of Jenin said that Hamduna, who was serving a 14-year prison sentence, had been suffering from a number of health issues, including shortness of breath, heart problems, and ear pains.
He was severely beaten by prison guards in 2003, and had since been taken to the al-Ramla prison clinic a number of times after his health deteriorated.
According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), a total of 208 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons since 1967, with another eight dying shortly after being released due to medical negligence while in Israeli custody.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies spokesperson Riyad al-Ashqar accused Israeli authorities of deliberately neglecting prisoners’ medical needs to torture and pressure them.
Israeli prison authorities have routinely come under criticism for their medical neglect of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, a “deliberate policy of neglect” has been maintained by Israeli prison authorities, “denying their responsibility in providing appropriate health care, and periodic medical checkups for prisoners and detainees.”
In August, a number of Palestinian rights organizations established a committee to follow the cases of Palestinians in poor health being held in Israeli prisons.
The organizations’ officials said that more than 700 Palestinian prisoners were suffering due to poor medical access, 150 of whom reportedly in serious health conditions requiring “immediate medical intervention.”
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies had previously estimated that some 1,000 sick Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons.
Around 216 Palestinian detainees have died in Israeli jails, some of whom had passed away after being released from prison, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Society.
Over 7,000 Palestinians are currently languishing in prisons located throughout Israel, according to the Palestinian government.