Press Releases

(Witness) denounces the Israeli forces for the death of the prisoner Nasser Abu Hmeid and calls for an international commission of inquiry on the Israeli systematic policies against prisoners

The Israeli Occupation Authorities persist their oppression on prisoners and detainees in prisons disregarding their health conditions with the lack of minimal medical care resulting in the death of 233 prisoners since 1967 including 74 due to medical negligence. The latest victim of this policy was the prisoner Nasser Abu Hmeid who passed away at the age of 50 in Assaf Harofeh Medical Center.

Abu Hamid was transferred from Ramleh Prison to Assaf Harofeh Hospital by occupation forces on Monday after his health deteriorated, to be announced later as dead, on December 20, 2022.

The Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness) affirms the Palestinians’ right to life and medical care as noncompromising rights regardless of the holder’s status, the nature, place and time of his stay, or being in prison. The association condemns the Israeli forces’ arbitrary treatment towards Palestinian prisoners and taking into consideration the international norms and conventions.

It is noteworthy that the 50-year-old Abu Hmeid’s health had been deteriorating since August 2021 while he suffered from chest pain that was diagnosed to be a lung tumor.

He was transferred again to Asqalan prison where his health collapsed. Although the doctors affirmed his urgent need for chemotherapy, the Israeli delayed his treatment until the cancer spread all over his body.

He was arrested for the first time at the age of 13, and the Israeli forces attempted for his assassination several times. He was rearrested along with his brother Nassr in Qalandiya camp to be sentenced to seven life terms and thirty years.

The course of Nassir Abu Hamid’s life summarizes the genuine suffer of every Palestinian who is targeted at many levels and deprived from his right to a just and stable life. He is the brother of the martyr Abdel Moneim Abu Hmeid, the prisoner Nasr, who is sentenced to five life terms, Sharif, who is sentenced to four life terms, Muhammad, who is sentenced to two life terms and thirty years, and Islam, who is sentenced to life term and eight years. The Israeli forces demolished his family house five times, his mother was prohibited from visiting him for several years, and he couldn’t attend his father’s funeral who died while Nassir was in prison.

The Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs had previously warned for the death of Nassir Abu Hmeid at any moment due to his deteriorating health conditions and blames the Israeli Authorities for the "Medical homicide policy”. It also pointed to the lack of minimal treatment necessities for prisoner’s health in Israeli prisons and violating their basic health rights.

It is noteworthy that the medical homicide policy that the Israeli authorities adopt to neutralize detainees and prisoners and humiliate them and their families, just represents a form of the Israelis oppression.

The gross violation against Palestinian prisoners demonstrates a clear transgression of many of the basic rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Human law that necessitates a special treatment towards prisoners especially from the Israeli occupation who are the party depriving them from liberty.

According to Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 1969 guarantees the right to enjoy general health services and medical care for everyone regardless of their race, color, national or ethnic origin.

Article 15 of the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War of 1949 requires the state that holds prisoners of war to rescue them and provide the medical care according to their health condition free of charge. It also stipulates the necessity of convenient clinics that provide medical care for prisoners, while to transfer them to treatment units in case they need special treatment or surgery, and conducting periodic examinations for following-up their health conditions.

The Fourth Geneva Convention guarantees for the prisoners the right to medical care and constant monitoring of their health conditions in their confinement to be provided by the arresting authority.

The right to life that is accompanied by the right to health care being one of the basic human rights is guaranteed by the International Human Rights law and the International Human Law .

In this context, the Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness)denounces the systematic medical negligence policy the Israeli prisons administration adopts that threatens prisoners’ lives and leads to the death of many. This act is considered a blatant violation of the International Law especially the rights health, and thus the association calls for the following:

1.     The United Nations to form a special international commission of inquiry to find out the circumstances of the Israeli violations against Palestinian prisoners, especially the sick.

2.     Pressure on the occupation authorities to provide basic guarantees for Palestinian prisoners, which stem from their obligations as an occupying power under international law.

3.     International Committee of the Red Cross to follow up on the health status of the prisoners and refer the violations that affect them to human rights organizations to put pressure on the prison administration and avoid the death of prisoners as a result of medical negligence.