A Palestinian advocacy group claims Maher Saasa received a COVID-19 vaccine a day before his death, but the cause of death is still unknown.
A Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail has died under unclear circumstances, according to two Palestinian prisoners advocacy groups.
The Prisoners Commission and the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said Maher Deeb Saasa, 45, of the occupied West Bank city of Qalqilya, died on Wednesday in Rimonim prison north of the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.
They said Saasa, a father of six, received a coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday, adding that he was suffering from several chronic illnesses.
“There are no clear details yet on the reasons for his death … his case will be followed up and the reasons will be investigated,” the joint statement said.
Both groups said they held Israel fully responsible for his death and for the life and welfare of all Palestinian prisoners in its prisons.
There was no comment from Israel.
Saasa, imprisoned since 2006, was serving a 25-year sentence.
Since the start of the pandemic, at least 290 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have been infected with the coronavirus.
Palestinian prisoners and rights groups called on international parties to intervene against the medical negligence practiced by the Israeli prison service on Palestinian prisoners.
The PPS said it was following “with great concern the dangerous developments” regarding the spread of COVID-19 among prisoners.
He identified the Israeli prison administration at Ramon Prison in particular – where most of the elderly and sick Palestinian prisoners are located – accusing them of delaying the testing of prisoners, which he says has contributed to widespread transmission.
Ramon was briefly shut down last December, with the PPS saying at the time that the increase in cases among Israeli jailers was “the primary source of transmission of the virus to prisoners.”
Saasa’s death brings the total number of Palestinian prisoners who have died in Israeli prisons since 1967 to 227.
Israel detains approximately 4,400 Palestinians – including 41 women and 170 children – of whom 380 are held without charge or trial as part of its policy of administrative detention.