Alternative Information Center (AIC) – Eyad Sarraj, a Gazan psychiatrist and leading Palestinian human rights defender, has died at the age of 69, after a long battle with leukemia.Sarraj was born in Beersheba, Mandatory Palestine on April 27, 1944, exiled with his family following the 1948 Nakba.

Sarraj, trained in Egypt and Britain, established the Gaza Community Mental Health Program in 1990, to support Palestinian steadfastness by providing services which treat the psychological effects of the Israeli occupation and seige.

A prominent human rights defender, he took on both Israeli and Palestinian governments, was jailed by both.

During his career, Sarraj achieved international recognition, including the Olof Palme Prize awarded by Sweden’s labor movement, as well as the Physicians for Human Rights award.

(Photo: Prize winner Eyad El-Sarraj couldn’t come himself to receive the award, which was instead handed to his son by Listbet Palme.)