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Gaza official: Israel prison hospital ward closure 'punishment'

Nov. 5, 2011 3:20 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 5, 2011 3:20 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The spokesman for the Gaza government's health ministry slammed Israel's closure of a hospital section in its Ramle jail on Saturday, stressing Israeli authorities' responsibility for the lives of Palestinians in Israeli jail.

Ashraf al-Qedra said the authorities were strangling detainees by closing the medical facility, and called on human rights organizations to protect ill prisoners from neglect.

On Thursday the Fatah information department said the prison administration closed the section and moved 22 sick prisoners who were being treated to four small rooms with no kitchens or other facilities. Israel's prison administration placed two detainees in isolation cells for demonstrating, they said.

A spokesman for Israel's prisons authority said he was not aware of the closure.

Al-Qedra urged the press to continue to cover the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israel after a deal between the government in Gaza and Israel to free 1,000 detainees over 2 months in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Israel is punishing those detainees still in jail for the deal, he said.
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