Obituary: Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh (1949 – 2013)

Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, who died on Tuesday as a prisoner of Israel, was a married father of four who spent decades of his life in exile.

Born in Hebron on Sept. 25, 1949, Abu Hamdiyeh was first imprisoned by Israel in 1969, accused of membership of the General Union of Palestinian Students.

Abu Hamdiyeh received a diploma in electronics in Cairo, and later studied law at university in Beirut. Wanted by Israel, he never graduated.

Between 1970 and 1975, Abu Hamdiyeh lived in Syria, Kuwait, Lebanon and Jordan. Every time he returned to the West Bank he was detained without charge.

In 1978, Abu Hamdiyeh was exiled to Jordan but returned to Palestine two decades later. A Fatah leader, he worked as a general in the Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Security.

Abu Hamdiyeh was arrested again in May 2002, and in 2005 an Israeli court sentenced him to 25 years. Israeli military authorities appealed for a lengthier sentence, and in 2007 Abu Hamdiyeh was sentenced to life.

Since Abu Hamdiyeh’s arrest in 2002, Israel banned his four children from visiting him.

In August 2012, Abu Hamdiyeh suffered severe throat pain. Five months later, he was diagnosed with throat cancer.

He complained of medical neglect by Israeli prison authorities, and said in March that he was only given pain killers. At times he was transferred to Soroka Hospital, a trip he described as “another journey of suffering.” The cancer spread to his spinal cord.

In late March, Abu Hamdiyeh was finally admitted to the hospital, where he died on Tuesday morning.

Expressing his sorrow and condolences, Palestinian Authority premier Salam Fayyad praised Abu Hamdiyeh’s distinguished role in the national struggle for freedom and said “his contributions to the just cause of our people will remain alive in our national memory and continued struggle for freedom.”

There are 25 Palestinians diagnosed with cancer in Israeli jails. Some 207 Palestinians have died in Israeli jails since 1967, including 54 who died from medical negligence, the Palestinian Authority says.

(Ma’an –

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1 Comment

  1. It it absolutely inhumane that anyone should suffer such terrible treatment. It’s about time the world was told the truth about Israel’s abominable treatment of the Palestinians. The BBC is always biased towards Israel as is HMG.

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