Detainee Dies in Central Gaza Detention and Rehabilitation Center
Date: 29 May 2020
Palestinian detainee was pronounced dead Friday morning, 29 May 2020, at Central Gaza Detention and Rehabilitation Centre in Deir al-Balah. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses its concern over the recurrent deaths at Detention and Rehabilitation Centers across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and calls upon the Public Prosecution to follow through and ensure prisons’ commitment and adherence to the law and safety standards.
According to PCHR investigation, detainee M.A.A was pronounced dead inside a detention facility in Deir al-Balah. He was dead upon arrival to al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital and his body was transferred to the Forensic Department at al-Shifa Hospital – Gaza to identify the cause of death. Iyad al-Bozom, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior in Gaza, announced the death of M.A.A at the detention center after hanging himself on Friday morning, and his body was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza for an autopsy.
Captain Mahmoud Abu-Hasanain, Legal Officer at Deir al-Balah Detention and Rehabilitation Centre, stated that M.A.A was found hanging with a piece of cloth taken from his clothes around his neck, the robe was tied to the bathroom window in his cell. He added that the facility learned of the incident when his cellmates, approximately 10 in a 50sqm cell, informed the security officer that M.A.A went into the bathroom and did not come out for a long time. Abu-Hasanain also said that police officers provided first aid to the detainee, but he was lifeless and did not respond, M.A.A was not examined by the facility’s physician because he was away for the weekend. An investigation was opened by concerned authorities, and the preliminary examination indicated death by suicide as the cause, which was motivated after he was refused a home-leave to preserve his life as he was in custody for two thefts and threats of assault which he was not tried for yet.
It should be mentioned that M.A.A has been detained since 30 March 2020 and admitted to Deir al-Balah Detention and Rehabilitation Centre on 29 April 2020.
PCHR fieldworker was unable to obtain a statement from M.A.A’s family due to the state of shock they suffer; PCHR was not allowed to visit the facility in question due to ongoing investigations into the incident by the police.
The Forensic report concluded the cause of death is hanging by a thin robe around the neck that led to suffocation and death; there were no bruises on the body.
PCHR asserts the responsibility of the Public Prosecution and detention facilities for the life and safety of inmates and stresses the importance of identifying the failures of the Public Prosecution as this is not the first incident of its kind; yet, no preventive measures were put in place.
Additionally, PCHR emphasizes that the 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…”