Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said today that Israel must be held accountable for its systematic crimes against Palestinian prisoners.
“Early this morning, Sami Abu Diyak passed away in an Israeli prison after having suffered for months from renal and lung failure as well as advanced intestinal cancer,” said Ashrawi in a statement. “Sami is the newest victim of Israel’s reprehensible policy of medical negligence against Palestinian prisoners, who also endure other forms of grave violations of human rights and war crimes at the hands of their Israeli captors, including torture. With his tragic death, Sami becomes the 222nd Palestinian prisoner to die in Israeli prisons.”
Ashrawi said that “Israel’s notorious and well-documented mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners, including minors, is morally, legally, and politically bankrupt. It fails to meet any of its obligations under international law and it flaunts its defiance of the UN-set minimum standards required for treating prisoners with abject disregard for Palestinians’ humanity. The international community’s failure to hold Israel accountable for these crimes is equally inexcusable.”
The PLO official added, “Even by the standards of Israel’s innately unjust and racist military court system, Sami was entitled to humanitarian release so that he may spend his last days with loved ones. Yet, Israel repeatedly, wilfully and inhumanely denied him this most basic of rights, reaffirming once again that its policy of mass incarceration of Palestinians and sham courts are designed to exact vengeance and collective punishment against an entire people.
“Sami’s death is a tragic reminder of the indignities nearly a million Palestinians have endured in Israeli prisons and detention centers since the beginning of the occupation in 1967. It must compel relevant international human rights bodies to assume their responsibilities and confront this system of mass oppression and dehumanization against Palestinians. Israel must be investigated and held accountable,” she continued.
“We extend our sincere condolences to Sami’s bereaved family and to the Palestinian people as a whole,” Ashrawi concluded.