Author: MOHAMMED MAR'I | ARAB NEWS
Saturday 17 April 2010
Raed Hammad, 27, from Al-Aizariyeh, east of Jerusalem, was found dead inside his cell in Ishel prison in the southern Israeli city of Be'er Sheva. He was serving a 10-year-term for attempted murder.
Qaraqae said in a press statement that 50 prisoners died due to deliberate medical negligence and 70 prisoners due to severe torture. He added 71 prisoners were killed by Israeli forces after their arrest. The minister said seven prisoners died inside jails and detention camps due to use of "excessive force and live ammunition" by Israeli soldiers.
The minister said Hammad was suffering from severe medical problems. "The Ministry of Prisoner Affairs and human rights organizations warned of Hammad's deteriorating condition and called for his release to receive medical treatment but Israel refused the call or to provide treatment."
Qaraqae accused Israel of being responsible for Hammad's death because it ignored the warning about his health condition. He called for "a commission to investigate the circumstances of his death and the deaths of 19 other Palestinians in Israeli jails since 2000.
"Israel is hard on prisoners, particularly those in solitary confinement, and the Israeli policies hide the prisoners' distress," Qaraqae said.
Hammad, like other Palestinian prisoners, was held solitary confinement in a 1.8 by 2.7 meter cell. According to Qaraqae, Hammad was forced to use the cell as toilet and kitchen. "You can imagine the smell and humidity surrounding the prisoner all the day," he said, adding that the cell's window was only 8 cm by 8 cm.
Qaraqae said a large number of Palestinian prisoners are in urgent need of medical help and yet receive little more than basic pain relievers. The minister added that Israel continues to torture and mistreat Palestinian detainees.
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), more than 7,000 Palestinians, 270 of them under the age of 18, are languishing in Israeli prisons.