PCHR Calls for Investigating Circumstances of Detainee’s Death in Khan Younis Rehabilitation Center
On Sunday evening, 25 August 2019, the Ministry of Interior announced on its website the death of detainee (A. ‘A.) due to an electric shock while carrying out maintenance works at “Asdaa'” Rehabilitation Center in Khan Younis. As a result, he taken to Naser Hospital in Khan Younis in a critical condition that later led to his death. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) calls upon the Attorney General to initiate an investigation into the death circumstances of the detainee. PCHR also calls upon the Ministry of Interior and the Public Prosecution to take a serious step to reform prisons and detention centers in accordance with the relevant international standards.
According to PCHR follow-up, at approximately 19:30 on Sunday, 25 August 2019, detainee Ibrahim Mohammed Ahmed ‘Abdul’aal (29), who is a mechanist and motorcycle electrician from Rafah, was taken from Asdaa’ rehabilitation center, west of Khan Younis, to Naser Hospital. After about half an hour upon his arrival at the hospital, the doctors announced his death. It should be noted that ‘Abdul’aal had been detained on criminal grounds for a year and a half.
Zayed Ibrahim Dawoud ‘Abdul’aal (70), the detainee’s uncle, said that the family received the death news of his nephew from the media, and were not informed by the official authorities. When Zayed headed to Naser Hospital in Khan Younis at 21:00, he saw his nephew in the mortuary, noticing a 5-centimeter incised cut to the back side of the head. The corpse was then referred to the Forensic Medicine Department in Gaza City to identify the cause of death.
It should be noted that this is the fourth case of its kind in the prisons and detention centers in the Gaza Strip in the last two years. Thus, the number of deaths in the prisons and detention centers since June 2007 has risen to 26 in different circumstances.
In light of the above, PCHR emphasizes that life of detainees falls within the responsibilities of the Ministry of Interior’s Prison Service according to the Law of Reform and Rehabilitation Centers 6/1998. Article 7 of the Law stipulates, “…Inmates in any prison remain under the legal guardianship of the prison director….” Thus, PCHR demands that the investigation shall take in consideration the negligence that probably led to death.
PCHR also stresses the responsibility of the competent authorities like the Public Prosecution and judges to oversight the lawfulness and circumstances of detention as stipulated in Article 70 of the Judicial Authority Law 1/2002 that grants the Public Prosecution and judges the power to follow up and inspect the conditions, wellness and lawfulness of detention.