PCHR Calls for Investigation into the Circumstances of Death of Suspect in Police Detention Facility in Rafah

Gaza Strip, Israel / OPT, Press Release

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) calls upon the Attorney General in Gaza to conduct an investigation into the circumstances of the death of a suspect in the detention facility of Rafah police station and to publish the results of the investigation.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR and the testimony of a suspect’s relative, at approximately 23:35 on Sunday, 31 March 2013, the body of Sami Hamdan Qishta, 50, from al-Brazil neighbourhood in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, was taken to Martyr Mohammed Yousef al-Najjar Hospital in the town.

According to police sources had been detained in the detention facility of Rafah police station since 20 March 2013 by a court order, and he had received a special treatment because he was suffering from weakness of the heart muscle.  He was allowed to stay with his family on Thursday and Friday, 28 and 29 March 2013, before he came back to the detention facility on Saturday morning, 30 March 2013.

In light of the above, PCHR:

  1.     Calls upon the Attorney General in Gaza to open an investigation into the circumstances of Sami Qishta’s death and publish the results of the investigation.
  2.     Emphasises that the Palestinian Authority hold the ultimate responsibility for the wellbeing of prisoners and detainees, and thus, they are responsible for ensuring that prisoners and detainees are treated in a way that maintains their dignity, including through the provision of adequate health care services, in accordance with the Law of Reform and Rehabilitation Centres of 1998.