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Groups claim Israeli medical neglect in death of Palestinian prisoner

May 22, 2018 2:16 P.M. (Updated: May 23, 2018 1:38 P.M.)
Aziz Oweisat
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian officials are holding Israeli authorities responsible for the death of a Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody on Sunday evening.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement that they “held the Israeli authorities entirely responsible” for the death of 53-year-old Aziz Oweisat, who was pronounced dead on Sunday inside the Assaf Harofeh hospital in central Israel.

While Israeli media reported that Oweisat, a resident of occupied East Jerusalem, died while being treated for a heart condition, PPS claimed that he had suffered from a stroke on May 9th before being transferred to Assaf Harofeh hospital.

Head of the Jerusalem Prisoners’ Affairs Committee Amjad Abu Assab also told Ma’an that Oweisat had suffered from a stroke while being held at the al-Ramla prison hospital earlier this month, and was subsequently transferred to solitary confinement.

It remained unclear why Oweisat was being held at the Ramla prison hospital when he allegedly suffered from a stroke.

PPS pointed out that five Palestinian prisoners have died inside Israeli jails over the past five years.

According to the group, 216 prisoners have died in Israeli custody since 1967, 75 of whom were executed after detention, 72 died of torture, 62 of “medical neglect” and seven were “directly shot and killed by Israeli soldiers and guards inside jails and detention centers.”

Israeli media reported that protests erupted among Palestinian prisoners in at least two Israeli prisons following Oweisat’s death, and that the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) had stepped up security measures in the Eshel and Ktziot prisons.

Haaretz reported that two weeks ago, Oweisat was charged with attacking a prison guard with boiling water and hitting the guard over the head with an electric kettle, causing the guard to suffer from burns on their upper body.

Oweisat was detained in 2014 and sentenced to 30 years of prison for damaging gas lines in attempts to set off a number of explosions targeting Israeli settler homes in East Jerusalem.

The Times of Israel also reported that in 2012, he was convicted of attempted murder for attacking an Israeli man with an axe in the Old City of Jerusalem.

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