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Abu Hmaid: sixth cancer-stricken prisoner to die from medical negligence in 10 years

Jerusalem24 – 50-year-old Palestinian Fatah leader Nasser Abu Hmaid was announced dead, Tuesday morning, in Assaf Harofah civil hospital in Israel after suffering from lung cancer since August 2021, according to the Commission of Detainees and Ex-detainees.

The commission said that “Abu Hmaid was subjected to medical negligence by the Israeli prison authority at Al-Ramleh hospital since he was diagnosed with the disease.”

Abu Hmaid was immediately transferred to Assaf Harofah hospital on Monday evening after “his condition seriously deteriorated which caused him to go into a coma.”

Abu Hmaid’s family said in a statement after the Red Cross was able to arrange an immediate visit to the civil hospital in Israel, that his condition was very critical.

Naji Abu Hmaid, Nasser’s brother, told Voice of Al-Aqsa radio Monday night, that his mother, Latifa, hugged him but he wasn’t responsive.

“It was a painful time for us as a family, the doctor told me that Nasser might not be able to survive till the next morning.”

A general strike was announced in all West Bank and Gaza cities by the Palestinian factions, with all commercial, educational, and public institutions closed in mourning of Abu Hmaid.

The Israeli authorities are withholding the body of Abu Hmaid, while the family is refusing to open a funeral house without honoring him by burying his body properly, Palestinian media reported.

The Secretary of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Hussein Al-Sheikh, said during a visit to Abu Hmaid’s family home, that the Palestinian Authority requested that Israel hand over the body of the Abu Hamid.

“We also contacted the American administration and Arab parties in order to put pressure on the occupation to hand over the body of Abu Hmaid to honor him to his final resting place.” Al-Shaikh added.

Medical negligence

The Palestinian Prisoner’s society and the Commission of Detainees and Ex-detainees said that Abu Hmaid’s condition started deteriorating in July 2021, when he began suffering from pain in his chest until it was discovered in August 2021 that Abu Hmaid had a tumor in one of his lungs.

“The tumor and about 10 centimeters of the circumference of it were removed, to then be re-transferred to Ashkelon prison. Which brought him to this dangerous stage, and later, after the doctors acknowledged the need to take chemotherapy, he was subjected again to deliberate delay in providing him with the necessary treatment, until he recently started receiving it after the disease spread in his body.”

The head of the Commission for Detainees and Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs, Major General Qadri Abu Bakr, “held the Israeli occupation government, its military apparatus, and the prison administration fully responsible for the crime of the death of the prisoner Abu Hmaid.”

Israeli prison authorities denied the accusations. “He was treated with professionalism and in accordance with all medical procedures,” they said.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Society, Abu Hmaid is the sixth Palestinian cancer-stricken prisoner to die in Israeli jails due to medical negligence in the last ten years.

Seven life sentences plus 50 years

Abu Hmaid, who had collectively spent 32 years in prison, was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences plus 50 years in 2002, after being arrested in Qalandia refugee camp near Ramallah alongside his brother Nasr; who was sentenced to five life sentences.

According to Wafa, Abu Hmaid was subjected to multiple assassination attempts by the Israeli authorities.

Abu Hmaid was one of the founders of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah political movement, and was considered one of Marwan Al-Barghouthi’s confidants.

Israeli news website, Ynet, claimed that Abu Hmaid killed seven Israelis in a series of attacks, either executed or planned by him.

The Israeli authorities accuse Abu Hmaid of attempting to murder 12 Israelis, the website reported.

During a hearing in which Abu Hmaid was convicted of resisting the Israeli occupation, the Israeli representative of the state said at the time said, “before Abu Hmaid turned 20, he became a killing machine.”

Abu Hmaid was sentenced to four life sentences in 1990 but was released in a deal negotiated with the Palestinian Authority.

“An Israeli pilot dropped a 1000KG-bomb on Gaza to target one man, killing 18 innocent Palestinians in the process. That pilot was never brought to justice, and neither was the commander who sent him,” Abu Hamid said in his trial. “The destruction left behind made many want to sacrifice their lives for the cause. I’ve been in Israeli prison for 14 years and I still have Israeli bullets lodged inside of me. I will never give up and no Israeli court will make me change my mind. We will continue fighting for our freedom like any people would,” Abu Hmaid said during the hearing, reported Ynet.

Family of prisoners

The Abu Hmaid family lives in Al-Amari camp, in Ramallah city in the middle of the West Bank, and descends from the town of Al-Sawafir in the Jaffa district, and took refuge in Gaza City, before moving to Al-Amari.

Nasser, one of ten brothers and two sisters, is the second son who died due to to the Israeli authorities, his brother Abdelmoniem was killed by Israeli forces in 1994.

The Israeli forces also arrested five other brothers: Nasr, who was detained in 2002 and sentenced to seven life imprisonments. Sharif, detained in 2002 and sentenced to four life imprisonments, Muhammad, detained in 2002 and sentenced to two life imprisonment plus 30 years, and Islam, who was detained in May 2018 and sentenced to life in prison.

The Israeli forces demolished the family’s home 5 times, the last of which was in 2019.

Sick prisoners

The Palestinian Priosners Society (PPS) said in a statement, today Tuesday, that “With the martyrdom of Commander Nasser Abu Hmaid, the number of martyrs of the captive movement has risen to 233 martyrs since 1967, 74 of whom have died as a result of the crime of medical negligence (also called slow killing).”

PPS added that the number of prisoners in the Israeli prisons is about 4,700, including about 150 children and 33 female prisoners.

Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh Tuesday held Israel responsible for the death of Abu Hamid, calling on the Red Cross and international and human rights institutions to speed up the intervention in order to release sick prisoners, the elderly, female prisoners and children from the Israeli prisons.

“Abu Hmaid died as a result of the policy of deliberate medical negligence that the Israeli occupation prisons administration use against sick prisoners,” he added in a statement.






Nadeen Alshaer

Alshaer is a Palestinian journalist, a Birzeit University graduate with a B.A. in TV and Radio Broadcasting Journalism. Alshaer has 6 years of experience in journalism. She currently works as a reporter, editor and presenter/producer for PBC-Palestine TV and Jerusalem24 radio. She’s a UN and Kelley School of Business alumna.

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