PCHR Calls Upon Public Prosecution to Open Investigation into Death Circumstances of Second Detainee at Bethlehem Rehabilitation and Reform Center
Date: 22 March 2021
Time: 08:30 GMT
On Saturday, 20 March 2021, a detainee with disability was announced dead at the Bethlehem Rehabilitation and Reform Center due to a medical condition. PCHR is concerned at the recurrence of deaths at Palestinian Authority’s prisons and detention centers in different circumstances and fears that this death could 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.
The Palestinian Police declared on Saturday evening the death of inmate (A. H. N.) at the Bethlehem Rehabilitation and Reform Center due to a medical condition that required his transport to al-Hussein Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
On 08 March 2021, the Palestinian Police arrested (A. H. N.) at a checkpoint in Al-Ubeidiya village, east of Bethlehem, upon issuance of 7 detention orders against him on grounds of financial debts. A.H.N suffered a motor disability since he was a child and lived in Kafr Ni’mah village in Ramallah. At approximately 14:00 on Saturday, his health condition deteriorated, and it was later discovered that he had a heart attack. On his way to the al-Hussein Hospital, he was given cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the ambulance; however, doctors declared him dead on arrival.
It should be noted that the inmate was held in inhuman and degrading circumstances as he was detained in a narrow and overcrowded cell that included 28 inmates in unhealthy conditions at the time his health deteriorated.
It is noteworthy that this is the second death since the beginning of this year in the PA’s prisons and detention centers as an inmate was declared dead in the same rehabilitation center in Bethlehem after he was referred to al-Hussein Hospital on 16 January 2021, due to the deterioration of his health condition. He was referred to the Arab Society Hospital, where he underwent cardiac catheterization.
PCHR emphasizes that the General Directorate of the Rehabilitation and Reform Centers, the Ministry of Interior and Public Prosecution are all fully responsible for the life of the detainees and for occurrence of such incidents regardless of the reasons, 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.