Sick prisoner Jalal al-Faqih’s surgery repeatedly delayed: medical neglect continues in Israeli jails

jalallPalestinian prisoner Jalal al-Faqih has been repeatedly denied a necessary surgical procedure by the Israeli prison administration as a form of retaliation for his participation in the collective hunger strike and protest in support of Bilal Kayed several months ago, reported the Handala Center for Prisoners and Former Prisoners.

Kayed, 34, engaged in a hunger strike for 71 days against an administrative detention order imposed upon him for imprisonment without charge or trial following the expiration of his 14.5-year sentence in Israeli jails. Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners joined in strikes and protests in solidarity with Kayed, a leader in the Palestinian prisoners’ movement generally and the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. As a result of the hunger strike, Kayed will be released on 14 December.

Faqih, also involved in the PFLP and serving a 35-year sentence for his involvement in Palestinian armed resistance to Israeli occupation soldiers and settlers, was transferred to Afula hospital on 20 August following his own hunger strike when he suffered severe pain and developed a heart condition; following his release, his condition continued to deteriorate and he was informed that surgery was necessary. However, all attempts to schedule this surgery have been postponed since that time.

Al-Faqih is one of over 300 Palestinian prisoners suffering from chronic diseases as well as over 100 Palestinian prisoners with serious medical issues requiring attention, including 30 cancer patients. The issue of the medical neglect and mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners has been a consistent issue raised by the Palestinian prisoners’ movement over the years and decades, especially highlighted by the deaths of current and former prisoners shortly following their release and the lack of adequate treatment for heart disease, cancer and other serious illnesses.

The cases of Bassam al-Sayeh and Yousry al-Masri are two examples of Palestinian prisoners suffering from advanced cancer requiring chemotherapy yet continue to be denied access to independent physicians or Palestinian specialists. Sayeh was denied visits from his wife for over six months while fighting cancer and was transferred on multiple occasions between prisons during that time.

bassam-sayehSayeh, who is held in the infamous Ramle prison clinic with 23 of the sickest prisoners, also requires surgery; his wife Mona, herself a former political prisoner, has noted that his medicine protocol has changed and he will receive surgery, however, he has not be informed of a schedule for his treatment despite the changes and the severity of his illness.

Yousry al-Masri is suffering from cancer and multiple diseases; he received his cancer diagnosis five years ago, in Israeli jails. Despite his advanced illness and severe pain, he has been repeatedly transferred from prison to prison, including 12-hour trips while shackled in the “bosta.” Some of his scheduled chemotherapy treatments have been missed, despite the use of a clear protocol of timing and dosage being one of the most significant factors in cancer survival.

yousri-masri During this time he has had thyroid cancer as well as lymphoma, and continues to have enlarged lymph notes. Three tumors were found in his liver, yet he has not yet received treatment at all for his liver disease or a biopsy to determine whether the tumors are cancerous. Al-Masri said that doctors at Soroka hospital wished to perform a biopsy but that this was overriden by the prison administration.

Some of the most serious cases of sick prisoners, including the Palestinian prisoners held long-term in the Ramle prison clinic, include the following:

1. Khaled Shawish
2. Yousef Nawajaa
3. Mansour Moqtada
4. Ashraf Abu Huda
5. Mutassim Raddad
6. Jalal Sharawna
7. Qutaiba Shawish
8. Mamdouh Omar
9. Bahaaedin Odeh
10. Ayman al-Kurd
11. Osama Zaidat
12. Hasan Al-Qadi
13. Bassam Al-Sayeh
14. Mutawakkil Radwan
15. Nahed al-Aqra
16. Mohammed Bureish
17. Murad Saad
18. Yousry Al-Masri
19. Murad Abu Maliq
20. Sami Abu Diaq
21. Ashraf Abu Huda
22. Fuad Shobaki
23. Khalil Shawamreh
24. Jalal al-Faqih

Samidoun urges international action and solidarity in support of the sick prisoners, in particular those with urgent cases, to demand proper treatment, an end to medical neglect and the release of sick Palestinian political prisoners. We emphasize the full and complete responsibility of the Israeli occupation state for the health and lives of all Palestinian political prisoners.