Israel-based Rights Group Accuses Prisons of Abusing Palestinian Hunger Strikers

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel said the Prison Service is violating medical ethics and human rights and should no longer be in charge of providing medical care to prisoners.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, a nongovernmental healthcare organization, has accused the Prison Service of violating medical ethics and human rights norms in its treatment of prisoners and called for the transfer of responsibility for prisoner medical care to a professional body.

The organization, which opposes the occupation, made the statements in a detailed report published Thursday morning ahead of Palestinian Prisoners Day, to be observed April 17. The report, authored by Amani Dayef and Hadas Ziv, says an external entity would optimize the quality, availability and accessibility of medical care to prisoners in Israel.

It says the Prisoner Service medical care system's handling of the surge of Palestinian hunger strikes in the past year underlines its subordination to prison authorities, which are themselves subordinate the Israel's political echelon. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, according to the report, witnessed violations of the rules of medical ethics and of the human rights of hunger-striking prisoners.

The Prison Service responded, saying, Physicians for Human Rights is not an official entity and therefore it does not have at its disposal the tools and the ability to undertake a real and objective critical procedure, which many other entities including the Health Ministry are able to undertake. The Prison Service medical care system conducts itself professionally and responsibly toward all prisoners and the Prison Service rejects outright any attempt to cast aspersions on it.

Palestinians celebrate the deal ending the prisoners' hunger strike in Ramallah.Credit: AP

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