Detainee Dies in Gaza: PCHR Demands Investigation and Public Release of Results
Date: 02 September 2020
Time: 10:00 GMT
On Monday, 31 August 2020, medical sources at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, announced the death of Hasan Barakat (48), from al-Nusairat refugee camp, after his health condition deteriorated. It should be noted that Barakat had been detained in Tiba Rehabilitation Center since 27 July 2020, on grounds of a criminal case. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses its concern over this incident and calls upon the Public Prosecution to open an investigation to identify its circumstances and to ensure that the deceased was not subjected to ill-treatment or medical negligence, especially that the investigation authorities were aware that the detainee suffered from diabetes.
Barakat’s wife gave the following statement to PCHR’s fieldworker: “My husband, who suffered from diabetes, was detained pending investigation in Tiba Rehabilitation Center in southern Gaza City, on the grounds of fraud charges with a warrant from judicial authorities. When he arrived there, we sent his medications to the prison administration, explained his health condition in detail and informed them about the timing of his medications. We were allowed to visit him for the first time on 02 August 2020, and he was in a good health condition. Also, he informed me that he is receiving his treatment regularly. On 11 August 2020, I visited my husband for the second time, and his health condition was very poor. He informed us that on 06 and 07 August 2020, he felt very tired, and that he vomited and urinated blood. He asked to be taken to the hospital. The prison administration complied and took him to al-Shifa Hospital, where he underwent treatment and medical examinations for several hours before returning to prison,” she added, “My husband told me that he asked the prison administration twice to obtain a medical release due to the deterioration of his health condition, but the latter refused. He asked us to buy his medicine and bring it with us when we visit him in addition to a medical report from the UNRWA clinic showing that he suffers from diabetes. It should be noted that the prison administrations did not inform us that my husband was transferred to the hospital or that his health condition had deteriorated. At approximately 10:00 on Tuesday, 18 August 2020, a security officer from Tibah Prison called us and told us that my husband’s health condition had deteriorated, so the prison administration transferred him to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Upon my arrival, a doctor informed me that my husband suffered a brain hemorrhage and underwent an urgent surgery, having already entered into a coma before his arrival at the hospital. At approximately 11:00 on Monday, 31 August 2020, the Director of Tibah Prison called me and told me that my husband died. The Forensic Medicine Department wanted to carry out an autopsy for my husband’s dead body, but I refused. Due to the spread of corona virus in the Gaza Strip, I received my husband’s body and buried him immediately under strict procedures.”
PCHR highlights that 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. 13/1998. Investigation authorities should check the prisoner’s medical report before commencing the investigation to take into account the deceased detainee’s health condition.
PCHR stresses that law obliges prison administrations to immediately notify the detainee’s family if he was transferred to the hospital under Article (15) of the Reform and Rehabilitation Centers Law.
PCHR expresses its concern over the prison administration’s conduct, i.e. returning the detainee to prison after carrying out medical examinations, in spite of the critical health condition he had in the first time he was transferred to the hospital.
PCHR calls upon the Public Prosecution to open an investigation into the death circumstances of detainee Barakat and publish the results.
PCHR also calls upon competent authorities in the prison administration to abide by the law and provide necessary healthcare for the detainees, including the preventive measures.