Heroic British Palestinian Surgeon who is providing medical aid to Palestinians in Gaza instructs Bindmans LLP to represent him after an unexpected visit from Scotland Yard officers to his home in the UK and recent bombing of Al Ahil Hospital where he was working.
Professor Ghassan Abu-Sittah, a renowned plastic and reconstructive surgeon recently travelled to Gaza to help treat Palestinian war injured in hospitals in Gaza. Professor Ghassan gave several interviews on international news networks describing the desperate situation faced by hospitals in Gaza as a result of Israel’s bombardment and blockade of essential life sustaining supplies to civilians.
Following the interviews, Professor Ghassan’s wife and home were visited by Scotland Yard’s SO15 counter terrorism officers. Ghassan has described the visit as ‘harassment’ and ‘an attempt to silence us’. Police have since confirmed, to his lawyers, that the visit to his home was following Foreign Office policy to investigate the reason a person might be present in a war zone. They told his lawyers that they were satisfied with their enquiries and have no reason to speak to Professor Ghassan or his family further.
On Tuesday 17 October, the Al Ahil hospital where Professor Ghassan worked was bombed in what was initially widely attributed as an attack by Israel. Since initial reports, competing accounts have emerged that attribute the bombing to a Palestinian militant rocket fired inside Gaza whilst some investigators continue to cast doubt on that position. The UK and US governments state that they rely on intelligence to conclude the rocket was a Palestinian militant rocket.
Profession Ghassan and his family are being supported in the UK by the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians who have launched a number of legal initiatives since the war began.
Tayab Ali, partner at Bindmans and ICJP co-Director, who represents Professor Ghassan, said:
Humanitarian doctors who risk their lives to give aid in the midst of a humanitarian crisis should not have to worry about police officers harassing their families at home. Professor Ghassan is a well-known and celebrated doctor who is risking his life in what can only be described as a heroic effort to save lives.
We are satisfied with the police explanation to us and that they have no further need to speak to Professor Ghassan.
This news item has been amended as a result of new information that has come to light following its initial publication.