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Another Detainee dies in Beit Lahia Detention Facility

Ref: 54/2014
Date: 18 May 2014
Time: 11:15 GMT

Another Detainee dies in Beit Lahia Detention Facility

PCHR Calls for Establishing Independent Inquiry Committee to Investigate Detention Conditions in the Facility

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) calls upon the Attorney General in Gaza to initiate an investigation into the death of Waleed Mohammed Ibrahim Salman in Beit Lahia detention facility in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday evening, 16 May 2014, and calls for publishing the investigation's results. PCHR is also concerned that the detention conditions is the main cause of death especially that it is the second death in similar circumstances and in the same detention facility in two days.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 18:00 on Friday, 16 May 2014, the father of the deceased received a call from police officers in “Abu ‘Obaidah” detention facility in Beit Lahia telling him that his son, Waleed Mohammed Salman (28), was transferred from the detention facility to Martyr Kamal ‘Odwan Hospital and he was in a serious condition. The father said that he and members of the family headed immediately to the hospital, where they were informed that Waleed died upon arrival at the hospital. He said that the doctors told him that there were no signs of torture on the corpse and he died due to a heart attack. The father added that the corpse of his son was transferred to the Forensic Department at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Sources at the Forensic Department said that Salman died due to a heart attack.

The deceased’s father said to a PCHR fieldworker that his son was arrested on 10 March 2014, and was held in a detention center in Beit Lahia by the Palestinian police as his detention period was extended on the grounds of a criminal case. He added that his son was in a good health and had never complained of any chronic diseases.

On 16 May 2014, the Ministry of Interior in Gaza published a statement on its website indicating that Eyad al-Buzom, spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, stated that “the detainee, "W. S." (28), died this morning due to a sudden heart attack.” According to the statement, “the corpse was examined by a coroner who confirmed that he died because of dramatic failure of the heart.”

Alarmingly, this is the second death in the same detention facility in two days as S. H. died in a detention facility in Beit Lahia on 14 May 2014. The Ministry of Interior claimed that the detainee, S. H., died due to a heart attack.


It should be mentioned that during a PCHR lawyer's visit to a detention facility last April, he found that it lacks the adequate detention conditions according to the minimal international standards and the Reform and Rehabilitation Centers Law. The lawyer emphasized that the detention facility is a residential apartment comprised of 3 small rooms in a building in the centre of a populated area. Around 130 persons are detained in the apartment, so the rooms are overcrowded and the detainees suffer suffocation. Moreover, the detainees are not allowed to take a break and this is in violation of the most basic health requirements for detention facilities.

In view of the above, PCHR:

1. Calls upon the Attorney General and Ministry of Interior to seriously investigate the death of “W. S.” and publish the results;
2. Demands establishing an independent inquiry committee to investigate detention conditions in the aforementioned detention facility and other detention facilities, especially those belong to the police criminal investigation department, and if they are consistent with the minimal standards stipulated in the relative conventions, including meeting the requirements of adequate health conditions;
3. Stresses that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for the lives of prisoners and detainees under its control, and thus is responsible for treating them with dignity, including offering them medical care, in accordance with the Correction and Rehabilitation Centers' Law 1998; and
4. Highlights that the detainee's family has the right to claim for compensation if it is judicially proven that the police failed to protect the life of their son.

ENDS

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