Ramallah, 14 May 2012 – Bilal Diab’s health continues to deteriorate dramatically, according to Addameer lawyer Mona Neddaf, who visited him and two other long-term hunger strikers in Ramleh prison medical clinic today. Along with fellow administrative detainee Thaer Halahleh, Bilal Diab is on his 77th day of hunger strike today. Both Bilal and Thaer have yet to be hospitalized in a public hospital, despite being at immediate risk of death.
Bilal is currently experiencing frequent loss of consciousness and very low oxygen, hemoglobin and blood sugar levels. He is also suffering from hair loss, pain in his joints, and blood in his stool. After losing consciousness yesterday, Bilal was transferred to Assaf Harofeh hospital. However, during his transfer and while in the hospital, Bilal reported being shackled by all of his limbs and subjected to additional ill-treatment. He considered this a breach of medical ethics and therefore refused any treatment at the hospital. He requested to be transferred to a different hospital under humane conditions and was then sent back to Ramleh prison. A similar incident also occurred last Friday, 11 May, when he was transferred to Assaf Harofeh and refused to accept treatment there due to his mistrust in the doctors as a result of how he has been treated throughout his hunger strike.
In an attempt to further exert pressure upon Bilal, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) yesterday used communication with his family as a bargaining chip to compel him to accept treatment. After agreeing to take glucose yesterday and today, in addition to one vitamin pill today, the IPS allowed him to make a phone call to his family last night, for seven minutes only. He has been denied all family visits up to this point in his hunger strike. Bilal further reported to Ms. Neddaf that he had refused to meet with the IPS medical ethics committee last week when they attempted to pressure him to take vitamins and other minerals.
Ms. Neddaf was also able to visit Hassan Safadi, currently on his 71st day of hunger strike, and Omar Abu Shalal, currently on his 69th day of hunger strike, in Ramleh prison today. According to Ms. Neddaf, both are in critical condition. Hassan has very low blood sugar and received medication today for infections in his body. He is also taking vitamins to support his heart muscle. Omar also agreed to start taking minerals and salt two days ago. Both of them continue to demand their immediate release from administrative detention.
Nine additional prisoners on hunger strike have also been newly transferred to Ramleh prison medical clinic. Today is the 28th day of Palestinian prisoners’ mass hunger strike.
Addameer renews its demand for the immediate transfer to independent hospitals for all hunger striking prisoners whose medical conditions are deteriorating. Addameer holds the Occupation responsible for the lives of all prisoners on hunger strike and urges the international community to continue exerting pressure on Israel in the strongest manner possible to save their lives.