Eyad Sarraj, a leading Palestinian human rights defender, dies at 69 after battling leukemia

Relatives say Dr. Eyad Sarraj, a Gaza psychiatrist and prominent Palestinian human rights campaigner, has died after a long battle with leukemia. He was 69.

The family announced his death on Facebook early Wednesday.

Sarraj was born in British-ruled Palestine in 1944. His family fled to the Gaza Strip four years later during the war over Israel's creation.

Trained in Egypt and Britain, Sarraj established a community mental health program in Gaza in 1990 and became a human rights defender. In that role, he took on both Israel and the Palestinian self-rule government. His biography says he was briefly jailed by both.

Sarraj won international recognition, including the Olof Palme Prize awarded by Sweden's labor movement.

Sarraj is survived by his wife and three sons. Funeral arrangements are pending.