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Cancer patient denied access to essential treatment

Thursday, 01 March 2012 19:44 - 19-25 February - Ref.: 51/2012
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Kamel.TemrasyOn 19 February, Israeli authorities prevented 24-year-old cancer patient, Kamel Hikmat al-Taramsi, from traveling from the Gaza Strip to Jerusalem to receive medical treatment. Despite being in severe discomfort due to his illness, Kamel was detained and questioned for five hours at Erez crossing (north of the Gaza Strip).

Background

In 2001, Kamel, a resident of Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, was diagnosed with cancer of the pituitary gland. Kamel has been suffering from severe headaches and has been bedbound for long periods of time. Despite receiving treatment from both international and local doctors, his condition has continuously worsened.

Kamel’s sever condition compelled him to seek treatment in Jerusalem, however, his request for transfer was repeatedly denied by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, which claimed that he could receive the necessary treatment in the Gaza Strip.

On 6 February 2012, Kamel’s health condition deteriorated dramatically. After placing his request on hold several times, the Ministry finally transferred Kamel for treatment to al-Maqased Islamic Charity hospital in Jerusalem. He then applied to the Israeli military authorities for permission to leave the Gaza Strip with his mother. After one week, the Palestinian Liason Office informed Kamel that his request had been approved and he had to go to Erez crossing on 19 February.

At Erez Crossing

On Sunday 19 February, at around 9:00 am, Kamel and his mother went to Erez crossing to leave the Gaza Strip for Jerusalem.  .  When in the checkpoint, Israeli soldiers body-searched them both and ordered them to wait inside the waiting hall. After half an hour, two officers of the Israeli intelligence wearing civilian clothes arrived, searched Kamel again and took him into a nearby room. One of the intelligence officers questioned Kamel for an hour and a half about his family, militants in the Gaza Strip and his political affiliation. The Israeli officer then accused Kamel of being a terrorist and of shooting rockets at Israeli towns. Kamel denied such unfounded allegations and told him of his medical condition and his need of urgent treatment.

Kamel was left waiting in the room for another 90 minutes before two Israeli soldiers came, shackled his hands and legs, and blindfolded him. He was taken to al-Majdal prison in ‘Ashkelon in Israel where, after being further interrogated, Kamel was informed that his court hearing was scheduled for the next day. While under custody, Kamel was shackled, his belongings were taken and then he underwent a medical check by the prison doctor.

Kamel.Temrasy.afterAfter another two hours, the intelligence officer who had questioned him at Erez crossing came back and ordered a soldier to release Kamel, all the while addressing him as a terrorist. At 7:30 pm, Kamel was taken back to Erez crossing where his belongings were returned to him and he was ordered to go back home. The alleged court hearing never took place and Kamel returned to his family. His health condition continues to worsen and Kamel has little hope that he will be able to recover unless he can promptly receive the necessary treatment. (Al-Haq Aff. No. 7078/2012)