PCHR Calls upon Public Prosecution to Open Investigation into Death Circumstances of Detainee at Deir al-Balah Rehabilitation and Reform Center
Date: 06 July 2021
Time: 12:30 GMT
Yesterday afternoon, 05 July 2021, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital announced the death of a detainee namely, Shadi Haidar ‘Ali Nofal (41), from al-Nussairat refugee camp, at Deir al-Balah Rehabilitation and Reform Center due to a heart attack.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) is gravely concerned over the recurrent deaths at the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) prisons and detention centers in different circutances and fears that the death would be the result of medical negligence. PCHR stresses that the 1998 Reform and Rehabilitation Centers Law and UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners hold the Prison Service fully responsible for the life and health of prisoners.
According to the Director of Deir al-Balah Rehabilitation Center, Eyad al-Habbash, the victim had been detained since 09 March 2020 on criminal charges at Abu ‘Areiban Police station in al-Nussairat. On 14 April 2021, he was referred to Deir al-Balah Rehabilitation and Reform Center, noting that it was written in his medical record that he underwent an open heart surgery in Nablus in May 2019 that means before his arrest. The Center’s Director added that the detainee had never complained of pains during his stay at the prison and no symptoms appeared on him. On 28 June 2021, he started working in the prison’s clinic, upon his request. On 30 June, when he was at the workers’ room, he suddenly snored and was referred to al-Aqsa Hospital, where he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and it was discovered that he had a heart attack. He started recovering and his family visited him on 04 July. He returned again to the hospital to continue his treatment, but at approximately 11:00, he had another heart attack and was admitted to the ICU. At approximately 22:00, his death was pronounced.
At approximately 11:00 on Tuesday, 06 July 2021, his corpse was referred to the Forensic Medicine Department in Gaza and was inspected by the forensic pathologist, who emphasized that the main death reason is a heart attack.
The victim’s uncle, Hisham ‘Ali ‘Abdel Rahman Nofal (57) stated that his nephew, Shadi, was not sentenced throughout his detention as he appeared 5 times before the court and was detained at al-Nussairat police station before 14 April 2021. He worked in the police station’s canteen and left in the evening due to his health condition.
PCHR emphasized that the Public Prosecution, Ministry of Interior, and the General Directorate of the Rehabilitation and Reform Centers are fully responsible for such incidents regardless of the reason, as codified in Article (7) of the Rehabilitation and Reform Centers Law no. 6/1998, which provides that “… inmates in any prison remain under the legal guardianship of the prison director….” Moreover, PA has international obligations under the first rule of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners known as the “Nelson Mandela Rules”, which stipulates that “…. the safety and security of prisoners…. shall be ensured at all times.”
PCHR calls upon the Public Prosecution to open an investigation into the death circumstances, publish the results to the public and take all the necessary legal proceedings.