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Dirar Abusisi: First Kidnapped by Mossad, Now Abused in Israeli Prison

dirar abusisi

Recent photo of Dirar Abusisi after losing 55 lbs in prison

dirar abusisi on haj

Dirar Abusisi while on haj, before his kidnapping

Dirar Abusisi, who just marked the second anniversary of his kidnapping by Israeli and Ukrainian intelligence agents, is literally wasting away in an Israeli prison.  He was originally apprehended by Israel because its intelligence service thought he knew the whereabouts of then hostage, Gilad Shalit.   When Israel realized it had been hoaxed by Hamas into arresting him and that he had no idea where Shalit was, Israel concocted a story that he was the movement’s chief rocket engineer and founder of a purported Gaza version of West Point.

He has refused the State’s offer of a nine-year jail sentence in return for admitting guilt and is currently in solitary confinement.  The prosecution has refused to hand over to the defense key documents it has which are necessary to prepare for trial.  As a result, Tal Linoy, has filed a brief with the Supreme Court commanding the State to provide the materials.  So far, it has done nothing but stall and the Court hasn’t yet ruled.

Abusisi suffered a heart attack in 2009 and faces very severe medical conditions which have gone largely untreated by Israeli prison authorities.  They include a painful bout of kidney stones accompanied by high blood pressure and severe back pain.  He has anemia due to iron deficiency, biliary colic (gallstones), bouts of diarrhea, and has lost nearly one-third of his body weight (55 pounds) while in detention.  You can compare how he looked before detention and after two years imprisoned in these two photos.  He is allowed some meetings with his lawyer and rare visits with his family.

The detainee’s lawyer arranged for a medical review which is being released here for the first time (Hebrew).  In it, Dr. Dov Gavish (full Hebrew CV), director of the department of internal medicine at Wolfson Hospital in Holon, noted very serious deficiencies in the victim’s medical care.  Among other things, he noted that a cardiologist recommended in 2011 that Abusisi receive an echocardiogram and stress test, none of which was ever carried out.  Dr. Gavish said that:

The refusal to carry out such basic preventive measures, despite the patient’s complaint of chest pain and history of heart disease, characterizes unacceptable and deficient medical treatment that falls short of accepted medical standards.

Among the “sophisticated” means of treating him the prison doctors advised were taking vitamins and aspirin.  Gavish says that when his weight loss first occurred it was incumbent on the authorities to determine the cause of the condition and treat it aggressively, which they did not.

Abusisi was finally sent to a gastroenterologist only in February 2012 (last month, after two years in prison).  The doctor, after examining him, delayed any further treatment for several months while awaiting tests that would determine whether the patient was allergic to gluten or lactose intolerant.  Again, Dr. Gavish argues that this treatment is incompatible with medical norms and unacceptable given the seriousness of the symptoms.  He should’ve been taken for a gastro-and colonoscopy and full-body scan and given a nutritional evaluation.

Finally, the doctor notes that three separate prison medical officials examined Abusisi and found his detention did not endanger his life and that he was medically fit to endure solitary confinement.  One doctor even stated erroneously that the prisoner had no pre-existing medical conditions.  Two doctors found that Abusisi’s general medical condition was satisfactory.  Gavish refutes this claim saying it has no basis.  He argues that the patient’s precise medical condition is not known because of the refusal of the authorities to conduct the proper medical tests to determine it.  In fact, the results of such tests might very well indicate he should be held neither in solitary confinement or in prison detention at all (given that this could mortally endanger his health).

Finally, the defense’s consulting medical specialist finds that Abusisi’s overall medical treatment betrays:

The lack of systematic attention to the patient’s medical complaints and symptoms.  Such medical treatment is unacceptable, deficient, and falls short of accepted medical standards.

In the aftermath of the Shalit prisoner exchange, in which 1,000 Palestinian detainees were freed, Abusisi seems to have become an orphan.  He is non-political and as such, has no movement, either Hamas or Fatah that will vouch for him.  Without champions or sponsors Israel seems prepared for him to rot away in jail.  It offers him two choices: either to confess to crimes he didn’t commit and thereby relieve the intelligence services of the black eye they deserve for kidnapping an innocent man…or dying, whichever comes first.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Joel March 12, 2012, 5:59 PM

    What ‘illegal methods’ did the government use to extract Abu Sisi’s confession?

    • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 1:24 AM

      He was tortured, or didn’t you get the memo that the Shin Bet routinely tortures security suspects? If you didn’t I guess it might shock you.

  • David March 12, 2012, 7:57 PM

    There is no hope from the “Supreme Court” because the IDF and the government, separately and in unison, defy orders from this court. The Supreme Court is a charade like Israel is a charade, a posturing fraud.

  • Piotr Berman March 12, 2012, 8:16 PM

    Everything about the case of Dirar Abusisi is preposterous. Seems that killing him without leaving marks on the body would be best solution for Israel — the man is an embarassment. Prosecution was not even aware that “Petrovich” is not a last name, Abusisi was accused of studying rocket science in a department years after it was closed etc.

    Characteristically, it was a while ago that IDF claimed that all involved in the “kidnapping” of Gilad Shalit were killed, and now every high profile case of a person from Gaza is related to Gilad Shalit.

    Today I was surprised to learn that Israeli prison service is so humane that it has forms for verifying “sufficiently good health” before placing someone for a year in solitary confinement. In Middle Ages prisoners could rot in dungeons without having proper forms filled on their behalf, luckily, we progressed from those dark times.

  • Joel March 13, 2012, 3:22 AM

    No, Richard. I didn’t get the memo.

    Abu Sisi’s first lawyer said that ‘excessive measures’ were used to get Abu Sisi to confess. Abu Sisi’s second lawyer said that ‘illegal method’ were used to extract the confessions.

    “Routine tortures” isn’t an answer either.

    Neither of his two defense lawyers have explained exactly what illegal or excessive measures were used to get their client to confess, and since I don’t readily believe prosecutors or defense attorneys I thought you might know how Abu Sisi was ‘tortured’ into confessing.

    • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 11:51 PM

      Abusisi’s alleged confessions were obtained under torture as are many similar “confessions” obtained from Palestinians. I know specifics of so many cases, & the torturers & their techniques don’t change, so I don’t really need to know the specifics of his case. If you read the Israeli press as closely as you should you’d read the same things I’ve read on this score. I will ask the attorney for your benefit though.

    • alina March 14, 2012, 5:43 AM

      do u need them to film it and show as proves? this is israeli prison, not the hollywood studio… they used to torture palestinians in prisons.that fact is known.

      • Joel March 14, 2012, 7:41 AM

        @ alina

        No. I’d just like Mr. Abu Sisi’s defense attorneys to be a little more specific about their client’s mistreatment at the hands of his captors.
        I haven’t read anywhere that Mr. Abu Sisi’s confession had been extracted by torture. Have you?

        • Richard Silverstein March 15, 2012, 12:03 AM

          You mean other than his lawyers which have said so repeatedly in the public media? You mean other than that? Or are you expecting the Shabak interrogators to rush forward and confess to their abuse in public?

      • Nimrod March 14, 2012, 9:28 AM

        who needs proof when every claim one needs to make is “a fact well known”

  • ex-Israeli March 13, 2012, 2:01 PM

    No need for charges or evidence. He’s Palestinian. That’s enough evidence for conviction in the Jewish Apartheid State.

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