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Rights groups concerned by Gaza death in custody
Published Wednesday 09/01/2013 (updated) 11/01/2013 14:13
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Security forces stand guard outside the Saraya prison in the Gaza
Strip. (MaanImages/Wissam Nasser, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The death of a Palestinian man while in the custody of the Gaza government in recent weeks must be thoroughly and transparently investigated, human rights groups say.

Atef Khamis Derbas, 52, was being held in the central Ansar prison in Gaza City for unpaid debts, before he died on Dec. 27.

His family told the Al-Haq human rights group they had informed prison authorities of his pre-existing medical problems, and that he was suffering in jail due to cold conditions and not taking his medication regularly.

A representative of Al-Haq told Ma'an an official investigation was opened by Gaza authorities on Monday.

Derbas' family strongly believe Atef died due to medical negligence and poor conditions in jail, al-Haq said. The autopsy report received by the family says the main cause of death was heart failure.

Al-Haq said it had "grave concern at the number of deaths occurring inside Palestinian prisons." On Oct. 16, 27-year-old Mohammad Said Al-Zaqzouq man died in police custody in Khan Younis, south Gaza.

Police said he had committed suicide, and a police source told the Palestinian Center for Human Rights that officers gave him the blanket with which he later strangled himself.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights called for a "serious and thorough investigation" into Derbas' death, urging the government to publish the findings publicly.

"The Palestinian Authority is responsible for the life of all the prisoners and detainees being held in its prisons; thus, it is responsible for protecting their dignity, as well as providing adequate medical care for them, in accordance with Reform and Rehabilitation Centers Law of 1998," the group said.
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1 ) UN / UNESCO
09/01/2013 21:17
There is no Palestinian Authority any more - it's called State of Palestine now. It is whole new ball game now. So, it would not hurt anyone to tell that everything was Palestinian Authority's fault.

2 ) Robert Haymond / Israel-Gush Etzion
09/01/2013 21:31
Arabs better off living in Israel and better off serving time in Israeli prisons.

3 ) Jordan / Palestine
10/01/2013 05:51
Robert - you mean the ones held without charge or trial - and give 'confessions' though torture, including children?

4 ) Robert Haymond / Israel-Gush Etzion
10/01/2013 14:23
Really, Jordan, Israel is not a mideastern Arab country. Torture is disallowed. Holding terrorists without trial is necessary for fear of revealing sources of information. Because Arabs do not play by the rules of warfare, do not expect Israel to either. You Folks use babies and women as human shields, all too common, even amongst yourselves. You have no compunction to attack civilians including children in your terror attacks. Israel will continue to defend itself against your barbarity.

5 ) Jordan / Palestine
11/01/2013 00:42
Check with DCI Palestine or PCATI or any human rights org- Israel routinely arrests & detains children & nonviolent protestors and routinely subjects them to torture without charge or trial. To simply say that torture is 'disallowed' is not simply not be informed about the issue at all. Furthermore, 'you folks' have occupied & colonized Palestinian land for over 45 years - so please dispense w/tired propaganda of who is the aggressor - over 550,000 settlers in the WB & EJ speaks for itself.
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