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Due to Suspicious Death Circumstance, PCHR Calls for Investigation into Death of Palestinian Prisoner ‘Aziz ‘Eweisat in Israeli Jails

Ref: 56/2018

On 20 May 2018, Palestinian prisoner ‘Aziz ‘Eweisat (53) from  al-Mukkaber Mount village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, died in “Assaf Harofeh” Medical Center. The Palestinian Center for Human rights (PCHR) calls for an immediate and impartial investigation into the death circumstances of ‘Eweisat in light of having suspicions that the  “Eshel” Prison Service, where he was detained, tortured him in addition to the deliberate medical negligence he was subjected to and not offering the timely and adequate medical treatment for him.

On Sunday evening, 20 May 2018, medical crews in “Assaf Harofeh” Medical Center near al-Ramlah in Israel announced the death of Palestinian prisoner ‘Aziz Mousa Salem ‘Eweisat (53) from al-Mukkaber Mount village, southeast of East Jerusalem. On 09 May 2018, ‘Eweisat was transferred from al-Ramlah prison to “Assaf Harofeh” Medical Center after he suffered a stroke and stayed there until his death was announced on the abovementioned day.

It should be mentioned that ‘Aziz ‘Eweisat was arrested on 08 March 2014 and sentenced to 30 years in prison after being condemned with planning to explode the gas pipeline of “Armon Hantsev” settlement established on the Palestinian lands of al-Mukaber Mount village.  In the beginning of May, he had a stroke after being transferred from “Eshel” prison to “al-Ramlah” prison. Before the stroke, prisoner ‘Eweisat said to one of the prisoners that he was beaten and maltreated in “Eshel Prison under claims of pouring hot water on a prison official.  On 09 May 2018, he underwent a heart catheterization, and his health condition deteriorated.  After one day, he was taken to “Tel Hashomer” Hospital where he underwent an open heart surgery.  The two day before his death, ‘Eweisat suffered multiple organ failure and was on medical ventilators in “Assaf Harofeh” hospital where he underwent an MRI which showed he suffered from severe inflammation and pulmonary hypertension “increased blood pressure within the arteries of the lungs.” in the left lung.    The Prisoners’ Affairs Authority then called for urgently releasing ‘Aweisat for health reasons and determined a hearing on 25 May 2018 in the Magistrate’s Court in Ramla to consider the request.

The Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies said to PCHR’s fieldworker that prisoner ‘Eweisat was beaten and maltreated by a group of jailers in “Eshel” Prison  after the prison service claimed  that he poured hot water on a jailer. On Monday, 07 May 2018, during ‘Eweisat transfer from al-Ramlah Prison, he said to another prisoner the details of attacking him by the jailers as he was transferred from the cell to the solitary confinement cells according to a clear deal between “Eshel” Prison Servie and the leaders of the Prisoners Movement on condition that they don’t attack him. That was after the Prison Service claimed that he poured hot water on a jailer causing him burns. ‘Eweisat also said that the Prison Service did not commit to the deal, rather a group of jailers attacked and brutally maltreated him. As a result, he suffered severe bruises in his eyes, mouth, teeth and throughout his body. The Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies also mentioned that fatigue and exhaustion were clear on him as he was panting while he was sitting, and had breathing difficulty in addition to pains in the chest and sever mouth dryness.

‘Eweisat Family said that on 11 May 2018, they managed to visit ‘Aziz at Tel Hashomer Hospital for 2 minutes, where they noticed clear signs of exhaustion on him and that he was under the medication influence. They also noticed bruises and beating signs on his neck.

PCHR points out that death of dozens of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli jail is as a result of severe beating, physical and psychological torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, or deliberate medical negligence. Thus, PCHR:

  • Calls for immediate and impartial investigation in the death circumstances of ‘Eweisat in light of suspicions that he was subject to brutal beating; and
  • Calls upon the international community to compel Israel to respect international law and international humanitarian law, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.