The hand of a Palestinian inmate is seen in a prison in the West Bank city of Nablus February 11, 2008. .
(photo credit: ELIANA APONTE/REUTERS)
Suha Jbarra, a Palestinian woman who was arrested 46 days ago by the Palestinian Authority security forces, was rushed to hospital on Sunday evening after her health condition worsened, her father, Badran, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
The 30-year-old mother of three, who is a citizen of the US and Panama, is suspected of providing funds to Islamic charities. The PA has refused to provide further details.
Her father, Badran, who is also a citizen of Panama, said in an interview with the Post that his daughter has been on hunger strike in a Palestinian prison in Jericho for the past three weeks. “My daughter is half dead,” he said. “She’s been vomiting blood and has lost a lot of weight. She’s in a very serious condition.”
The father said that on Sunday night he learned from Palestinians in Jericho that the PA security forces were planning to take her to a hospital. “First, we were told that she would be taken to a hospital in Ramallah,” Badran told the Post. “The Palestinian security services then decided to take her in an ambulance to a hospital in Hebron.”
When he and his wife arrived at the Hebron hospital, they were surprised to see “more than 300 policemen and security officers.” The policemen, Badran said, were “very nervous and didn’t allow anyone to come close to my daughter’s room. They threatened to beat anyone who tried to approach the room or see her.”
After waiting for more than three hours, Badran and his wife learned that the PA security forces had taken Suha back to prison in Jericho. “They took her out through a back door,” he said. “We saw dozens of police officers inside the hospital before we heard that they had taken her back to prison. One of them knocked my wife to the floor because she was standing in the middle of the corridor inside the hospital.”
Asked to explain why he thought his wife had been detained by the PA security forces, the father said: “It’s because we’re a wealthy family.” Referring to the PA, he said that his family was “dealing with a mafia.” He denied that his daughter had done anything illegal. The father said that Suha, who lived in the village of Turmusayya north of Ramallah liked to help people and used to give money to Islamic charities. “There’s no reason why she should be in prison and facing torture,” Badran said.
“What we’re facing is something unusual. When they came to arrest her in early November, they brought 50-60 police officers. When we saw the large security force, we were convinced it was the Israelis.”
The father and other family members told the Post that Palestinian human rights organizations whose help they sought refused to assist them. “They’re all afraid of the Palestinian Authority,” another family member said. They should not be working in the field of human rights. They are not objective. They are biased. The Palestinian Authority’s behavior is barbaric. We’re very concerned about Suha’s deteriorating health.”
The family member and Suha’s father said that senior PA security officials warned them not to talk to the media or human rights groups about Suha’s case.
Badran said that the family has also asked Washington and Panama to intervene with the PA to secure the release of their daughter.
Earlier this month, Amnesty International called on the PA to investigate Suha’s torture and ill-treatment. A statement issued by the group said that the woman had been beaten, and her interrogators slammed her head against a wall and threatened her with sexual violence.
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