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Ex-prisoner on hunger strike over PA inaction

Nov. 10, 2011 11:36 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 12, 2011 2:55 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma’an) -- A released Palestinian prisoner, Amal Jumaa, 41, announced Thursday she had started a hunger strike because Palestinian Authority officials have failed to provide her medical treatment.

Jumaa told Ma’an that she has been in hospital for 13 days and wanted to "officially announce today an open hunger strike because they failed to provide necessary treatment for me."

President Abbas "issued a directive to transfer me abroad for treatment. I've been waiting for days."

Amal was hospitalized in Nablus for complications due to bleeding in her stomach. She suffers cancer of the uterus and other serious health issues complicated by her time in jail.

Jumaa's family has said that their daughter's case was taken on by the office of the president. Her family is also asking officials to intervene and if possible send her to a hospital abroad.

Jumaa was transferred to hospital days after her release from Israeli prison, says her brother Jameel. She belonged to Fatah's armed wing, and was sentenced to 11 years in prison and served nine.

On Thursday, Jumaa wondered aloud if the Palestinian Authority wanted her die, asking why they didn't leave her in jail to hasten the process. The patient suffers breathing and urinary complications.

Jumaa’s doctor, Sami Abdul Rahman al-Shannar, told Ma’an that Jumaa is suffering from severe complications after a hysterectomy including infections of the respiratory system.

Imad Eshtewi, an advocate for prisoners in the northern West Bank, said a factional coordination committee in Nablus will meet soon to discuss the released prisoner’s health issues.

Jumaa's hysterectomy was performed in an Israeli hospital, he said.

Eshtewi also said Jumaa's living arrangements had not been attended to properly. He said the neglect she has suffered amounts to "dereliction", as she has to stay with relatives or friends.

Fitna Abu Eisha, another recently released female prisoner, threatened Thursday that all the female former prisoners would join Jumaa's hunger strike if she was not transferred abroad for treatment.

"We want Jumaa alive; we don’t want to watch her die in front of us."

Response from the health ministry in Ramallah:

The case is being followed up on by all Palestinian Authority institutions especially the Office of the President and the president himself, as per his instructions on Nov. 7 to the Palestinian National Fund and the Ministry of Civil Affairs to treat her in Jordan, said Dr Omar al-Nasser, the ministry's public relations officer.

The minister of health, Fathi Abu Moghli, has also been following up on her condition for quite a long time, and "he visited her family two years ago when she was still in prison."

He says the ministry has provided all necessary treatment through the public hospital. However, at her family’s request, she was moved to a private hospital, he says. He added that based on the decision by Abbas, officials are working to issue a passport and a health file to make arrangements for transferring her to Jordan.

Response from the health ministry in the Gaza Strip:

The ministry says it is prepared to treat Jumaa immediately. "Healthcare for released prisoners is a moral duty that requires speedy attention," says Basem Naim, health minister in the Hamas-led government in Gaza City. There is no excuse for stalling, he says.
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