A particular issue that I found important to talk about is the prisoners’ situation in Israeli jails especially of those who are ill. The case of Mutasim Raddad, 29 years old of Tulkarm, is the example of medical negligence of many ill Palestinian detainees in Israeli occupation jails. He was detained since 2006 when he was 21yo during the second Intifada and was sentenced for 20 years. Two years later in 2008, he started to notice something wrong in his health, and he was diagnosed in Ramla prison with bowel cancer and anemia.
Prisoners’ Club demonstration. Tulkarem 03-09-2013
He had some hope of a treatment when in 2010 he was going to be operated in an Israeli hospital. However, hours before the surgical intervention, he was told that he cannot be operated because there was another patient with a more severe case. In this way, his operation was postponed but until now there is no news regarding a treatment. Four years ago the international medical humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), tried to organize a group of doctors that could treat Mutasim, but their request was denied. Similarly, many international and local organizations like Mandela Organization, Center Prisoner Research, ADDAMEER, etc. have followed his case without having success.
Now the cancer has spread all over Mutasim’s body, and the only treatment he is receiving is cortisone injections every ten days. According to his family and Palestinian doctors, the amount of cortisone is too high and consequently it brings side effects such as weak bones, muscles, and heart. In addition, he has lost bowel movement, began to have a lot of blood in the stool, and his immune system has weakened.
Mutasim’s posters in the Raddad family’s house. Tulkarem 18-09-2013
The Raddad family is desperated with Mutasim’s condition, and they beg for medical treatment, “If they [Israel] don’t want to release him, at least they should give him medicine, a treatment” said his brother. They have requested many times to send him to any Arab country, and if it is necessary, to renounce to his freedom and live in exile, so he can have a real cancer treatment and save his life.
Israel is violating international humanitarian law denying a prisoner the basic human right of access to health. According to the article 13 of the Geneva Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War “Prisoners of war suffering from serious disease, or whose condition necessitates special treatment, a surgical operation or hospital care, must be admitted to any military or civilian medical unit where such treatment can be given, even if their repatriation is contemplated in the near future […].” This is clearly not applied in Mutasim’s case. Moreover, the Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs of Palestine states that this policy aims to use the weak condition of detainees as a pressure, bargaining and extortion paper as an approach to kill their struggling spirit.
Medical negligence of Palestinian patients in Israeli occupation jails makes their health deteriorate increasingly and their condition is not often put on the table. The case of the prisoner Mutasim Raddad from Tulkarm reflects the cruel reality that cancer patients face every day.
Mutasim is dying and the time keeps going on and no medical treatment is offered. Please spread the word until is too late and save his life!
Mutasim Raddad’s Poster