Ramallah, 30 January 2013 – Israel reneges on agreement to release hunger striker Akram Rikhawi, as health of three other hunger strikers continues to deteriorate.
Addameer lawyer Fares Ziad yesterday visited Akram Rikhawi
and confirmed that Akram re-started his hunger strike on 24 January 2013, in protest of the refusal of Israel to release him on the previously agreed date of 24 January 2013. On 22 July 2012 Akram ended his previous 102 day hunger strike after an agreement was reached to release him on 25 January 2013, six months prior to his original release date.
Akram’s brother Shadi Rikhawi also started a hunger strike on 24 January 2013. By 27 January 2013 Akram’s blood sugar levels had already decreased. Akram is currently taking water and sugar, while his brother Shadi is taking water only. Akram believes that the Israeli authorities do not respect the lives of Palestinian detainees, since they did not release him on the agreed date. Akram’s demands are clear, freedom or martyrdom.
Addameer lawyer Fares Ziad also visited Jafar Azzidine
and Tarek Qa’adan who are on their 64th
day of hunger strike and confirmed that both were transferred to Assaf Harofeh hospital on 24 January after their health deteriorated so badly that either could suffer a stroke at any time. Prior to being admitted to hospital both were taking only water and salt. Upon being admitted to hospital both Jafar and Tarek began taking glucose after which they both felt a slight improvement but both insist on continuing with their hunger strikes.
Both Jafar and Tarek still suffer health problems from their pervious hunger strikes, which have been exasperated by their current strikes. Both feel pain all over their bodies; suffer from kidney problems; constant headaches; general fatigue; and constant dizziness.
Ziad also visited Samer al-Issawi in Ramleh prison medical center and reported that Samer’s health continues to deteriorate. His weight has dropped to 48 kilograms and he needs the use of a wheelchair. On 17 January Samer stopped taking vitamins and sugar, while on 22 January he stopped drinking water. That same day Samer’s temperature rose to 41 degrees and he was transferred to Assaf Harofeh but refused treatment before being returned to Ramleh prison clinic. He was again transferred to hospital on 26 January after his heart beats became irregular. He had some x-rays taken but refused any other medical tests or treatments, before being transferred back to Ramleh prison medical center.
Samer was then examined by a Red Cross doctor on 27 January 2013 who explained that his life was at risk and suggested that he at least begin drinking water again. Following the doctor’s advice Samer started drinking water. Samer continues to suffer from various health conditions including low heart rate; heart pain; sever kidney pain; chest pain; muscle pain; severe headaches; and pain in his left eye.
Yousef Yassin has stopped his hunger strike after suffering from kidney problems and has been transferred to Megiddo prison.
Addameer finds that the continued hunger strikes illustrate the essential need for Egyptian intervention, especially in their capacity as the sponsors of the 18 October 2012 prisoner exchange and 14 May 2012 agreement that ended the mass hunger strikes. They must work in their capacity to enforce these agreements and put pressure on the Occupying power to respect its obligations and quickly release all the ex-prisoners that were arbitrarily re-arrested, restrict its use of administrative detention and immediately release the ill prisoners that have been languishing for years in the Ramleh prison clinic and are dying slow deaths.
The reasons the Israeli Prison Service continue to ignore the demands of the prisoners on hunger strikes are three fold: first, the colonialist, racist nature of the Israeli state, the disregard for the basic right to life for Palestinians and the disregard of international law. Second, the lack of international pressure on the state of Israel that allows it to continue its practices and finally, the deterioration of people’s awareness of the prisoners issue and the support for their demands.
*Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand the release of the prisoners on hunger strike.
Military Judge Advocate General
6 David Elazar Street
Harkiya, Tel Aviv
Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
- Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon
OC Central Command Nehemia Base, Central Command
Neveh Yaacov, Jerusalam
Fax: +972 2 530 5741
- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak
Ministry of Defense
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: +972 3 691 6940 / 696 2757
- Col. Eli Bar On
Legal Advisor of Judea and Samaria PO Box 5
Beth El 90631
Fax: +972 2 9977326
*Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release the hunger strikers.