On Sunday evening, 22 December 2019, Palestinian prisoner, M.KH., 55, from Ramallah, died at Palestine Medical Complex to which he was referred 2 weeks ago after his health deteriorated. Police spokesperson, Loai Irzeiqat, declared on his Facebook page that the deceased had been detained since 2012 following a 10-year sentence in prison for selling lands to Israelis.

Irzeiqat added that the police and the Public Prosecution have opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of the prisoner.

According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), M. KH. suffered from high blood pressure and was referred to the Medical Services Center several times for treatment during his detention at Betunia Rehabilitation Center.

After the prisoner’s death, the Palestinian police stated on its website that the deceased’s body will be referred to the Forensic Medicine Department to fulfill the legal proceedings and identify the cause of death.

Therefore, the number of deaths at the Palestinian prisons and detention facilities in 2019 has risen to 5. In the West Bank, 3 prisoners died: the first died on suspicions of torture; the second died due to a heart attack; and the third died due to deterioration of his health condition. Meanwhile in the Gaza Strip, 2 prisoners died: one of them died due to a heart attack while the other died due to an electric shock.

In light of the above, PCHR:

1. Calls for publishing the investigation results to public;

2. Highlights that life of persons detained in prisons and detention facilities falls within the responsibilities of the Ministry of Interior and Prison Service according to the Reform and Rehabilitation Centers Law No. 6/1998 as Article 7 of it stipulates that “…Inmates in any prison remain under the legal guardianship of the prison director…..”; and

3. Stresses the responsibility of the stakeholders, including the Members of the Public Prosecution and judges, to oversight the lawfulness and circumstances of detention according to article 70 of the Judicial Authority Law 1/2002 that gives the Public Prosecution and judges the authority to oversight and inspect the conditions, integrity and lawfulness of detention.

Photo: Alray
Related: PCHR: Fourth Case in 2019: Palestinian Prisoner Dies in Israeli Prison, Suspicions of Medical Neglect Arise