Palestinian Security Detainee Dies in Prison, Fatah Calls for International Investigation

The woman, identified as Sa'dieh Matar, has been incarcerated since December 2021 for an attempted stabbing

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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People approaching Demon prison in northern Israel, where a security detainee died on Saturday.
People approaching Demon prison in northern Israel, where a security detainee died on Saturday.Credit: Rami Shllush
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

A Palestinian security detainee died Saturday in a northern Israel prison. According to Israel's Prison Service's spokesperson, 68 – year – old Sa'dieh Matar suffered from a chronic illness and was hospitalized earlier in the week before returning to the prison.

Her medical condition deteriorated on Saturday and the prison's medical staff was unable to resuscitate her. The Prison Service said that the circumstances of her death will be examined.

The Fatah movement blamed Israel and the Prison Service for Matar's death and called for an international investigation of the incident.

Matar, a mother of seven from the West Bank village of Idna, has been incarcerated since December 2021, when she was arrested for a stabbing attempt near the holy site of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

Matar's nephew told Palestinian media Saturday that his aunt did not suffer from any underlying medical conditions, and claimed that her health worsened because she was beaten during her arrest and neglected while in detention.

Matar was the oldest female security detainee held by Israel without trial, and was one of 32 female inmates at Damon prison near Haifa.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club, a group representing former and current prisoners, said that the female security detainees at Damon face particularly harsh conditions and suffer from ongoing neglect. The club also said that Matar was beaten at the time of her arrest.

The Palestinian prisoner administration said the news of Matar's death sparked rage across prisons in which Palestinians are held.

In April the number of security detainees in Israel reached a five-and-a-half year high. According to data supplied by the Israel Prison Service to Haaretz, as of April there were 579 Palestinians in administrative detention. The Israeli military and the Shin Bet security service justify administrative detention as being necessary to thwart terror attacks.

Most administrative detention orders are issued for periods of between three and six months, but they can be extended without limitation.

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