Israel News

Human Rights Watch Condemns Hamas for Holding 2 Mentally Ill Captives

Human Rights Watch condemned the Hamas for kidnapping two missing Israelis Hisham al-Sayed and Avraham Mengistu who are being held captive in Gaza. The HRW claims that these missing Israelis have a history of mental illness including traveling great distances and crossing borders illegally without understanding what they did.
For the past 3 years the HRW interviewed both families of the missing men and spoke with both the IDF and the PA. They went over all the relevant army and medical records and agreed that these 2 men are mentally unstable. Their health is deteriorating every day they remain in captivity and they must be released immediately.
“There’s no demand or aim that can justify holding men with serious mental health conditions allowing them no contact with the outside world”, HRW director for the Middle East Sarah Leah Whitson.
Avraham Mengistu a 30 year old from Ashkelon wandered into Gaza in September 2014 and his crossing was recorded on the border security cameras. Similarly Hisham al-Sayed from the Southern Israel Bedouin town ‘Hura’ wandered across the border in April 2015.
In family interviews the families said the kidnapped men are not well and Mengistu was even hospitalized for 19 days in a psychiatric ward in 2013.
HRW now demands the release of these 2 prisoners with no preconditions on humanitarian grounds unless Hamas can show some legal grounds for their holding these men in captivity. “Until they are released the Hamas must still treat them humanely and allow them to stay in touch with their families, says the group.


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