Young Palestinian prisoner Hassan Abdul-Halim Turabi, 22 years of age, who suffered from leukaemia, died at the Afula Israeli Hospital on the 5th of November, murdered by deliberate Israeli medical neglect, after being denied essential medical treatment. The number of Palestinian prisoners who have died in Israeli jails is now 205.
Hassan al-Turabi was taken prisoner over 10 months ago. Apparently due to his ill health Israel said it would release him, but didn’t. When he first started experiencing pain, he asked for medical treatment in the prison clinic and was given painkillers. However his health condition deteriorated more and more until he started vomiting blood. He fell unconscious and only then was he rushed to the hospital. His parents were allowed to accompany him.
Israeli forces transferred Turabi from Megiddo prison to Afula Medical Center for medical treatment too late. He had spent 20 days in an intensive care unit after being admitted unconscious to the Israeli hospital. Turabi had been suffering a severe headache and belly pains for months while in prison.
The Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners Affairs, stated before his death that for two weeks Turabi suffered severe pains and a swollen abdomen, often feeling dizzy. Nevertheless, the prison’s clinicians provided him with only minor painkillers. Ten days before he was transferred to the hospital he had vomited large quantities of blood, but did not receive treatment from the prison’s medical staff. He was later moved to the intensive care unit where medics found that he had blood clots in the neck, the chest and the abdomen.
The Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Qaraqe described the case as a new "war crime" committed against Palestinian prisoners. Turabi's death brings the death toll among Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody to 205 since 1967. Five Palestinian prisoners have died in Israeli jails during 2013 alone.
Around 3,000 Palestinian prisoners in the Zionist jails started a hunger strike following news that Turabi a fellow prisoner and cancer patient had died because of deliberate neglect by Israeli authorities. Several demonstrations occurred in the West Bank and Gaza in protest at Turabi’s death and against the Israeli prison authorities’ mistreatment of prisoners.
The following statement was released by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Prison Branch in response to the death of Hassan al-Turabi:
The killing of prisoners in the jails of the occupation is a deliberate result of the systematic policy of medical neglect by the prison administration, and by the intelligence apparatus that seeks to undermine the steadfastness of the courageous Palestinian prisoners.
As part of this policy, on November 5, 2013, the struggler Hassan al-Turabi died in a hospital in Afula after his transfer there from Megiddo prison approximately one month ago, where he fell as a martyr from his struggle with leukaemia, which severely worsened as a result of deliberate medical negligence. Responsibility also lies at the feet of the intelligence agencies, who were fully aware of his illness and suffering, warned by his family and human rights organizations, and yet arrested him and continued his detention despite that information.
It is clear that the goal of his detention was to ensure his death in the custody of the occupation, and to attempt to deter other Palestinian strugglers from continuing in the path of struggle and resistance to the occupation and its policies. These criminal policies are escalating daily, from arrests, to home demolitions, land confiscation, settler attacks on Palestinian youth and farmland and the burning of mosques, continued settlement expansion, the Judaization of Jerusalem, the continuing siege, the ongoing denial of Palestinian refugees’ right of return, attempting to empty the Palestinian cause of its essence and push the Palestinian issue outside the responsibility of Zionism and instead into international and Arab responsibility.
The occupation carries the responsibility for Hassan al-Turabi’s life and the lives of all of the sick prisoners in prisons and the patients in Ramle prison hospital. We demand an end to the criminal policy of medical neglect in the treatment of prisoners, and for the international and human rights institutions to play their role in holding the enemy accountable for its crimes through the formation of an international commission to investigate those crimes and expose the violations of the occupation against prisoners.
The occupation must also be pressured to convert the file of sick prisoners to the Ministry of Health and under the control of international institutions, and remove it from the responsibility of the prison administration. Finally, we call on the masses of our people to join in a grass-roots campaign to advance the cause of sick prisoners and demand the immediate release of sick prisoners, especially that a number of them are on their deathbeds.
Salutes to the martyr Hassan al-Turabi and all of the martyrs of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement. Freedom for the prisoners, recovery for the wounded – we are inevitably victorious.
The Palestinian Center for the Defense of Liberties & Civil Rights “Hurryat" stated that it held the Israeli Government, the Israeli Prison Services (IPS) and their medical team responsible for the death of prisoner Hassan Al-Turabi as a victim of the deliberate medical negligence policy practiced against political prisoners in Israeli jails.
Palestinian activists put full responsibility for all prisoners’ deaths on the Israeli authorities. Palestinians say that there are currently more than 100 Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails who are suffering serious diseases. They are in desperate need of proper health care. The international community has a responsibility to intervene and help save the lives of Palestinian political prisoners at risk. And hold Israel to account for breaches of international law and international human rights laws.