Palestinian teenager freed after going blind in Israeli jail

Palestinian teenager freed after going blind in Israeli jail
Hassan Tamimi, 18, has been released from Israeli jail after going completely blind due to medical negligence.
2 min read
18 June, 2018
Neglect of Hassan Tamimi's medical needs had tragic consequences [Getty]

Israel on Sunday released 18-year-old Hassan Tamimi, a Palestinian detainee, after he lost sight in both eyes due to medical negligence inside Israeli prison, according to the official Palestinian WAFA news agency.

Tamimi was detained on 7 April and was not provided with adequate medical care or food by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) despite them being aware of his various health conditions, the Palestinian Prisoner's Society (PPS) said on Monday. PPS has made repeated calls for provision of medical and nutritional attention for Tamimi during his detention.

"Despite the fact that we provided occupant Israeli state with health reports, they didn't attach any importance to the matter and his health condition deteriorated," Hassan's uncle Abdunnasir Tamimi told Anadolu.

Tamimi, from the village of Deir Nitham northwest of Ramallah, was arrested on charges of throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers and was detained in the Ofer military prison while awaiting trial in July.

According to PPS, Tamimi suffers from life-long kidney and liver complications as a result of a defect in protein absorption. He requires a specific diet and medical treatment, the lack of which can prompt serious health problems.

PPS lawyer Ahmad Safyeh, said the Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, where Tamimi was being treated, informed IPS and the Israeli prosecution of its decision to release Tamimi despite the fact he needed further treatment and monitoring, especially after he went blind in both eyes due to the IPS' medical negligence.

Tamimi reportedly arrived at the Ramallah Medical Complex on Monday to continue treatment, with videos emerging on social media of the 18-year-old looking cheery in a hospital bed.

Deliberate medical negligence is a common punitive measure used against Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails. It is one of the commonly cited motivations for hunger strikers protesting the dismal and cruel conditions endured by detained Palestinians.

In 2016, the Palestinian Information Centre said that an estimated 207 Palestinian prisoners had died in Israeli custody since 1967, 126 of whom as a result of medical neglect.

According to the Palestinian Health Work Committees, appropriate treatement for life-threatening diseases such as cancer is often withheld and prisoners are instead given just painkillers. Prisoners with disabilities are withheld devices that would assist their movement, therefore deprived of mobility.