Hundreds protest across occupied West Bank for release of terminally ill Palestinian prisoner 

Nasser Abu Hmeid (49), a former member of Palestinian resistance group Al-Aqsa Martyers’ Brigade, is serving multiple life sentences and has already spent 30 years inside Israeli prison

September 12, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Palestinian prisoner
(Photo: WAFA)

Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in front of the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Nablus in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, September 11. They were demanding the immediate release of Nasser Abu Hmeid (49) from Israeli prison, Wafa news agency reported

The protesters carried banners demanding international pressure on Israel to release Hmeid from prison so that he can spend his last days with his family. Hmeid is serving multiple life sentences and has been in Israeli prison since 2002. He is suffering from cancer and has been in a coma since earlier this year. He is currently admitted to Israel’s Ramla prison clinic. 

Similar protests were organized at various other places in the occupied West Bank, including Ramallah and Jericho, during the weekend. 

The protesters claimed that Hmeid has not been getting adequate medical support for months and may die at any moment. They accused the Israeli prison authorities of deliberately neglecting the health of the Palestinian prisoner.

Hmeid’s mother also participated in a protest for his release in Ramallah on Saturday, where she told media persons that Hmeid wishes to spend his last days with his family, Quds News Network reported

A resident of the Amari refugee camp in Ramallah, Hmeid was arrested in 2002 for his affiliation with Palestinian resistance group Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, which is Fatah’s armed wing. 

Four of his brothers were also arrested in 2002. All five siblings are serving life terms in Israeli prisons. Hmeid is serving seven life sentences with an additional 50 years in jail, Wafa reported. He has already spent 30 years in prison.  

The treatment of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli prisons is a major issue for the Palestinian national movement. According to Addameer, there are currently over 4,500 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, including over 700 ‘administrative detainees.’ They face inhuman treatment inside the prisons, with human rights groups accusing Israeli authorities of using torture, physical abuse, and solitary confinement, among other forms of illegal treatment, against Palestinian prisoners. Due to such treatment and denial of basic amenities, a large number of Palestinian prisoners regularly fall sick and die in prison.  

According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, at least 73 Palestinian prisoners have died due to medical negligence inside Israeli prisons since 1967. The total number of Palestinians to have died inside Israeli prisons is much higher, according to various sources. Palestinian prisoners often organize mass or individual protest actions, such as hunger strikes, to oppose Israeli prison atrocities. 

Palestinian prisoner Musa Abu Mhaimid (40), who died in a hospital on September 3, was the latest victim of Israel’s medical negligence. Hmeid is also admitted in the same Ramla prison clinic in which Mhaimid died. The Ramla prison is infamous as a “slaughterhouse” among Palestinian prisoners.