Israel's medical negligence blamed for death of detained elderly Palestinian woman

Israel's medical negligence blamed for death of detained elderly Palestinian woman
3 min read
03 July, 2022
Palestinians have accused Israeli authorities of severe medical negligence following the death of a 68-year-old Palestinian woman Saadia Farajallah in Damon Prison, while calls for an international investigation in her death have been made.
The death of Saadia Farajallah, a 68-year-old Palestinian woman detained in an Israeli prison, has sparked outrage among Palestinians [Getty]

An elderly female Palestinian prisoner died on Saturday due to lack of proper medical treatment by Israeli authorities, the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC) announced.

The PPC said Saadia Farajallah, 68, from the occupied West Bank town of Idna, passed away in Damon prison. She was also said to be one of 29 Palestinian female detainees incarcerated in the prison, as well as one of the oldest.

The NGO added that Farajallah was also subject to medical negligence, like numerous Palestinians who have died in Israeli prisons.

Amjad Najjar, head of the PPC, told The New Arab’s sister-site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, that Farajallah suffered from a number of chronic illnesses including diabetes and high blood pressure.

The woman was beaten and detained on 18 December last year near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, and kept without charges, following accusations of attempting to stab an Israeli soldier. The violence that Farajallah was subjected to at the hands of Israeli soldiers was said to seriously aggravate her health.

Earlier this week, the elderly woman appeared in court in a wheelchair when her lawyers asked judicial authorities to allow her to be seen by a doctor after medical tests showed her health deteriorating.

She was sentenced to five years in prison during that court session and a fine of 15,000 shekels ($4,247), but the court sentence was reportedly not finalised.

The PPC holds Israel completely responsible for the passing of Farajallah, whose death brings the total number of prisoner deaths while in Israeli detention to 230 since 1967.

On Sunday, the Palestinian Authority’s Commission of Detainees and Ex-Prisoners Affairs submitted a request to the Haifa Magistrate’s court for an autopsy on the victim’s body, said the Palestinian Wafa agency.

The commission also requests the handover of her body to her family, which Israeli authorities have failed to do.

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Palestinian prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, has called for an international investigation into the circumstances of Farajallah’s death, as well as global pressure on Israel to release its prisoners, reported the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

Israel continues to hold hundreds of "administrative detainees," a detention system used by Israeli authorities against Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories, by which any Palestinian can be held without charges for periods of up to six months, which can be renewed indefinitely.

Israeli security forces usually issue administrative detention orders based on "secret information" provided by Israeli secret services.