Jailed Without Charge: Farouk Khatib, 30-year-old Palestinian on death bed

By Humaira Ahad

An image that manifests a stark contrast between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of a 30-year-old Palestinian man, appearing extremely frail and lost, has been doing rounds on social media in recent days.

Farouk Ahmed Khatib, a resident of Abu Shakidhim, northwest of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, was released last week, four months after being arrested by the Israeli forces on spurious charges.

As per the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PSS), Khatib was subjected to severe torture by the infamous Nashon battalion of the Israeli regime while being transferred from the notorious Ofer military prison.

Following the events of October 7, Khatib was taken to the Nafha prison in the Negev desert.

The PPS said Khatib, “was severely beaten by Nahshon forces during his transfer from Ofer prison to the Ramleh, which led to this dangerous stage in his health.”

Khatib’s family said that his health had severely deteriorated in the prison where he dramatically lost more than 20 kilograms of weight and led to many health complications.

Quoting the family of Khatib, the PPS said Khatib didn’t suffer from any chronic illness before the arrest, except for tachycardia, which he had developed as a result of his first arrest that lasted four years.

Father of a 5-year-old daughter, Khatib was arrested for the first time in 2019 and served a four-year prison sentence that ended in June 2023.

The reason behind Khatib’s re-arrest in August, barely two months after his release, remains unknown.

The 30-year-old was diagnosed with stage-five stomach cancer shortly before his release, which was the result of ruthless custodial torture he endured in the Israeli regime jails.

The occupation denied him appropriate treatment in the prison, the Khatib family said.

Khatib is presently receiving end-of-life care at a hospital in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

According to Khatib’s family, a former prisoner who happened to be from Khatib’s village told the family that the young man was repeatedly hit in the stomach by the Israeli prison guards.

While suffering from severe abdominal pain, he was refused medical treatment and kept in solitary confinement, denied even the basic human requirements of food and sleep.

After Khatib’s condition worsened, he was transferred to Ramla Prison Clinic and then taken to Soroka Hospital, where a biopsy was undertaken that revealed he was suffering from stage-5 abdominal cancer.

If this is not enough, the family continues to battle with misfortunes on various fronts.

Qassam, Farouq’s brother, was arrested by the Israeli army following the events of October 7. The family is unaware of his whereabouts and so does Qassam about his brother’s fatal illness.

Since October 7, the number of Palestinians in administrative detention (a process that allows the regime to imprison people indefinitely without charge and without presenting any evidence against them) has shot up to almost 3000.

Even before the Al Aqsa Storm Operation, the number was already at a 30-year high of 1,300 prisoners.

Many Palestinian prisoners have died in Israeli custody after their arrest since the events of Oct. 7, sparking concerns.

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