Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cancer patients going untreated in Israeli prisons until it is too late: rise in malignant disease

01.09.09 - 10:28
Bethlehem / PNN – A Palestinian man has cancer in his spinal court and is sentenced to life in Israeli prison. Another is suffering from malignant tumors and cannot move.
The Prisoners' Minister reports that malignant diseases are becoming prevalent among Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli captivity.
Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe’ repots that cancer is on the rise and being seriously exacerbated by the policy of deliberate medical negligence.
The Israeli prison authorities are notorious among political prisoners, their families, the Red Cross, human rights groups and the Palestinian government for not allowing adequate medical care. Qaraqe’ says this policy must change.
In a statement he made on Tuesday, Qaraqe’ said that there are 25 cases of cancer among the ranks of prisoners, describing this as a “worrying phenomenon” and a “serious indicator of poor health conditions.”
He said that Palestinian detainees are not afforded the minimum standards in health protection and treatment.
One such case is of Hamza Yousef Tarayra. The southern West Bank resident from Hebron was released, however, thanks to the efforts of prisoners’ rights organizations. But Qaraqe’ says this is too little, too late.
The young man was released before the end of his sentence by a judicial decision that took into account his cancer of the mouth and the deterioration of his health. This is the second such case in a few months. Fayez Zaidat was also released to seek treatment for cancer in Jordan.
Qaraqe’ said that prison doctors are fully aware of these diseases, and leave the patient without treatment to where the cases often become hopeless. When cancer is late stage and had been left untreated, there is little to do. This is the situation for Hamza Tarayra.
In addition to those suffering from cancer, Qaraqe’ said today that there are approximately 1,500 Palestinians in Israeli prisons in urgent need of medical follow-up, medicines and proper treatment. He noted that nearly 50 percent of prisoner deaths are directly related to medical negligence. The most recent was the death of Jerusalemite Juma Mousa.
As has been reported by the several organizations, including the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society of which Qaraqe’ was director before joining the government, most treatments consist of a mild painkiller. Reports also indicate lengthy delays in surgeries for patients who have been approved.
The Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs listed a few of the cases of medical need and neglect in Israeli prisons.
Ra’ed Mohammed Darabya, 36, is from the Gaza Strip. He has cancer in his spinal court and is sentenced to life in prison. A Jenin man is awaiting heart surgery in Telmond Prison.
Ahmed Awad is from Tulkarem and suffers from heart disease. He is in need of surgery. Akram Antir is suffering from malignant tumors and cannot move.
Prisoner Akram Mansour from Qalqilia, who is serving a life sentence, lost his hearing and is suffering other ailments. A Nablus woman has uterine cancer. Qaraqe’ reports that her health is deteriorating every day.