Increase in Number of Prisoners Suffering from Mental Disorders in Israeli Jails

RAMALLAH, August 1, 2015 (WAFA) – The Palestinian detainees and ex-detainees affairs committee Saturday said that there is an increase in the number of Palestinian prisoners, held across Israeli jails, who suffer from mental and neurological problems.

The committee’s lawyer, Shireen Iraqi, said in a press statement, that the number of Palestinian prisoners who suffer from mental disorders has escalated during the past few years, reaching around 25 cases.

She said that instead of providing those prisoners with the necessary medical help, the prisons’ administration incarcerates them for long periods of time, which she stressed, further aggravates their mental and health conditions.

The lawyer cited the case of prisoner Mansour Shahatit, who has been suffering from a long-time mental and neurological disorder. Shahatit is a resident of Hebron and is sentenced to 17 years in jail.

She said that the physiological state of Shahatit makes him ineligible to stay in jail in light of the lack of proper mental health treatment.

The lawyer urged for the need to allow mental health doctors to examine Shahatit.

She stressed that the prisons’ administration resorts to providing prisoners suffering from mental problems with over the counter pain killers and sleeping pills; where prisoners are left sedated around the clock.

Medical negligence has widely been reported as a systematic policy by the Israeli Prison Authority.

Palestinian prisoners are held in overcrowded cells that lack basic health standards, including the infestation of insects and rats, extreme cold and lack of heating methods, and wastewater leakage into their cells, which further aggravates their already poor conditions.

According to Addameer human rights association, “Israeli authorities responsible for prisoners regularly neglect their duties to provide medical support for Palestinian prisoners in their care, as required by the Geneva Conventions.”

“Medical problems are widespread, and range in severity from chest infections and diarrhea to heart problems and kidney failure. Treatment is often inadequate and is delivered after substantial delays. Often medication is limited to over-the-counter pain killers.”