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Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody close to death, in need of heart surgery

June 11, 2016 3:38 P.M. (Updated: June 12, 2016 12:08 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Palestinian prisoner Bassam Amin al-Sayeh, 43, from the city of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank was reported to be in critical need of a pacemaker implantation surgery to save his life.

Mona Abu Bakr al-Sayeh told Palestinian radio station Sawt al-Asra (Voice of Prisoners) that her husband suffers from both bone marrow and blood cell cancer, in addition to serious lung inflammation, osteoporosis, and muscle atrophy in his heart.

She said that her husband is fighting death under the Israeli policy of deliberate medical negligence.

The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said in December that al-Sayeh "may die at any moment," after his health deteriorated.

Bassam al-Sayeh was detained on Oct. 8 and sentenced to 20 years in Israeli prison. He was among 17 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel’s al-Ramla prison that the Palestinian Prisoners' Society on Dec. 1 warned were being treated for serious medical complications.

According to Sawt al-Asra, Bassam, a former prisoner who has spent several years in Israeli jails, was most recently detained during a trial for his wife. Mona was detained in April and served seven months in administrative detention.

Al-Sayeh’s brother Amjad has also been held in Israeli custody since 2002 and is serving a 20-year sentence.

There are some 1,000 sick Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, including 24 suffering from cancer, according to the Palestinian Prisoners' Center for Studies. Rights groups have widely condemned Israel for its medical negligence of Palestinians in its prisons.

According to the Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR), poor conditions in Israeli prisons -- that “have become renowned for offering only aspirin for all health treatments” -- have led to the deterioration of health for a large number of Palestinian prisoners.

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