Ha'aretz, August 6, 1998
Elderly Palestinian Prisoner Died After Being Chained to Bed in HospitalBy Gideon Levy, Ha'aretz Correspondent
A 60-year-old Palestinian prisoner was chained to his bed for one month at Sheba Hospital while he was hooked up to an artificial respirator. A few hours after he was released, he died, Ha'aretz has learned.
Yusuf Al Arir was a Fatah activist from Gaza who turned into an Islamic Jihad supporter and spent a total of 27 years in Israeli prisons. The last time he was arrested, at the height of the Intifada in 1989, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for possession of firearms, causing damage to security in the area and conspiracy to commit a crime.
In December 1993, he suffered a heart attack, after which his health continued to decline. In 1996, the prisoner release committee rejected his request for early release on grounds of poor health.
On May 24, 1998, Al Arir underwent a bypass operation at Sheba Hospital near Tel Aviv. He was hospitalized in the cardiac and respiratory intensive care unit for nearly a month. He remained in leg restraints during his entire hospital stay, despite the permanent guard stationed at his bed. He also was hooked up to a respirator for part of the time.
On June 21, it was decided to return Al Arir to prison. He died a few hours after being brought to Ramle prison. The doctor who signed his death certificate gave the cause of death as "unclear."
A Sheba Hospital spokeswoman said Al Arir had been released "in excellent condition." She said his doctor repeatedly asked the Prison Service to remove the restraints but it refused.
The Health Ministry said in response that it has no policy regarding the restraint of prisoners in hospitals.
A Prison Service spokeswoman said the case was a sad one, adding that "in light of this case, the regulation requiring prisoners with terminal illnesses to be restrained in hospitals was changed, and each case will be considered individually.
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