A Palestinian woman who recently gave birth to twins in the Gaza Strip says they are the children of her husband, who is in an Israeli prison and had his sperm smuggled to her.
Rasmeya Hmeid, 31, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper in a story published Tuesday that it was a complicated process but the couple put measures in place to ensure there was no doubt over the paternity.
“My husband has the right to be a father and to make a family,” Hmeid said.
Her husband, Nahed Hmeid, has been held by Israel since 2007 and is serving out a 20-year sentence for participating in rocket fire from Gaza at Israel and for deploying roadside bombs against security forces.
Though Rasmeya Hmeid has visitation rights, she last saw her husband in 2020 due to coronavirus restrictions.
Hmeid said her husband prepared the sample in the bathroom of his cell and there were four witnesses outside to confirm that it really was his sperm. It was put in a sterile container with a unique identifying mark that only the couple knew, then sent to Gaza, where it was taken to a fertility clinic.
“I am 100 percent sure that it was my husband’s sperm. There was a kind of an agreed-upon mark which no one knew about except me and my husband; that is why I am very sure they were his sperm,” she said.
The twin boys were born on December 4 and have been named Hamam and Hani.
The wife of Nahed Hamid, a Palestinian political prisoner in Israeli jails, gave birth to a twin today after she got artificially pregnant from sperm smuggled from her husband inside Israeli detention. Hamid, from the besieged Gaza Strip, is serving 20 years in Israeli prisons. pic.twitter.com/XXSlpfKCQx
— Rafiq Raja (@MohmadRafiq12) December 4, 2021
Hmeid would not give many details about how the smuggling was carried out to prevent, she said, retribution by the prison administration.
“I can’t reveal the secret,” she said. “All I can say is that it was a very complicated process.”
The Israel Prisons Service cast doubt on the authenticity of the story but told the Telegraph it takes action against those who attempt smuggling.
“It is important to emphasize that the IPS has never been presented with scientific evidence that sperm-smuggling has resulted in a baby being born, and the same is true of this claim,” the service said in a statement.
“IPS takes these incidents seriously, and uses all means available to prosecute prisoners who are suspected of attempted smuggling,” the statement said. “These include ordering police investigations, isolation, and denial of family visitations and other benefits.”
According to the Telegraph report, there are dozens of Gaza couples who say they have used similar techniques with sperm samples hidden in cookie bags, lighters and ballpoint pens.
The Hmeids’ story came amid a regional controversy over a drama film about Palestinian prisoners smuggling sperm.
“Amira” tells the story of a girl conceived with sperm smuggled out of prison whose biological father turns out to be an Israeli jailer rather than a Palestinian inmate.
Earlier this week Jordan said it was pulling the movie representing the kingdom at the Oscars, and Saudi Arabia has already dropped it from its own film festival.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, an organization that represents the more than 4,500 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel for crimes including terror attacks that killed civilians, said it “entirely rejects” the film.
Hamas, the terror group that controls Gaza, said the film is nothing more than a “service to the Zionist enemy.”
Hmeid agreed, telling the Telegraph that “Amira” “is offensive to the Palestinian prisoners, their wives and to the Palestinian people.”