Asif al-Rifai was first arrested at the age of 16 (Social Media)

A Palestinian prisoner in the "Ramle Prison Clinic" and his illness is one of the most serious cases in the Israeli occupation prisons. He was first arrested when he was 16 years old, and three more arrests followed. The Israeli authorities deliberately neglected his medical condition, following a strategy of "slow killing", so the disease spread to different parts of his body, and he was not released despite the fact that medical reports confirmed the seriousness of his condition.

Birth and upbringing

Asif al-Rifai was born on September 24, 2002, in the village of Kafr Ein, northwest of Ramallah in the central West Bank, to a family of a father, a mother, three brothers, and four sisters.

However, the prisoner Asif Al-Rifai did not know the meaning of normal life, nor did he have the opportunity to live a quiet life with his family, as he was arrested several times since he was a child and suffered physical injuries as a result of being targeted by Israeli bullets.

When Asif was just 6 months old, Israeli forces arrested his father in April 2002, and he spent the first ten years of his life deprived of having his father by his side, seeing him only on the limited prison visits available to the family.

Arrest at a young age

Prisoner Asif al-Rifai was not allowed to continue his education due to the injuries and repeated arrests he suffered. When he was 15 years old, he was shot in the lower limbs by the occupying forces, and only a year later, he was arrested for the first time.

After his release from prison, he was injured again in clashes with the occupation forces that led to his arrest for the second time, where he spent several days in detention this time, and in his third detention he stayed in Israeli prisons for about 10 months.

Having cancer

Asif came out of prison after his third arrest, but he did not come out intact, as his body collapsed after several months and he contracted colon and gland cancer, amid the surprise of doctors from his condition, especially since it is unlikely that a young man in his twenties will suffer from colon cancer.

Asif's condition deteriorated rapidly and the cancer spread to other parts of his body, including the liver, intestines and abdominal wall. His suffering was compounded by the difficulty of receiving treatment, as the occupation authorities refused to grant him a permit to enter occupied Jerusalem to undergo treatment.

Despite his illness and medical reports that confirmed his poor health, the Israeli occupation forces arrested Asif Al-Rifai for the fourth time on September 24, 2022, on his 20th birthday.

The suffering of prisoner Asif al-Rifai was not limited to the repeated arrests that robbed him of his childhood and youth, but also suffered from the further deterioration of his health due to deliberate medical negligence in the Ramle prison hospital, a systematic strategy followed by the occupation with detained patients in order to kill them slowly.

Al-Rifai's last chemotherapy session was just two months before his arrest, and according to his family, he was also supposed to undergo four additional sessions.

Al-Rifai's family demanded treatment for their son while he was in detention, but the occupation prison administration continued to procrastinate for 6 months, refusing to present him to a specialist oncologist despite the fact that medical reports explain the seriousness of his condition and the importance of undergoing treatment.

After the prison administration agreed to grant the prisoner treatment, he received it only once, during which he was restricted, and due to the failure to complete the necessary treatment plan, the spread of the disease increased in his body.

In September 2023, Asif al-Rifai's health condition deteriorated significantly, and he was then transferred from Ramle Prison Hospital to the Israeli Assaf Harofeh Hospital for surgery after doctors discovered a new tumor in the urinary tract, as the new tumor caused severe damage to the functions of the left kidney.

According to Israeli medical reports, Asif Al-Rifai's case is the most serious health condition among 24 other cases of cancer patients in Israeli prisons for 2023.

These reports estimated that al-Rifai may be only a few months away from death, and despite his critical condition, he has not been transferred to a civilian hospital that would allow him to receive the necessary care and allow him to have family members around.

Claims for release

With the deterioration of Al-Rifai's condition, many efforts were made to demand his release, but the occupation authorities did not pay attention to them. The Prisoners' Club held the occupation prisons administration responsible for the fate of the prisoner Al-Rifai, and all sick prisoners who face the crime of medical negligence, and called on human rights organizations to intervene for the immediate release of Al-Rifai.

The Commission for Prisoners and Ex-Detainees Affairs also called on all humanitarian and international institutions and the Red Cross to stand by the prisoners so that they can obtain their most basic rights to treatment, in light of the deliberate and systematic medical negligence practiced by the Israeli occupation authorities with the aim of slowly killing patients and torturing their families and families.

Source : Al Jazeera + Palestinian Press