Group: 25 prisoners start hunger strike in Israel jail

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Two dozen prisoners in an Israeli detention facility in the occupied West Bank have launched a hunger strike against their living conditions, the Palestinian prisoners society said Thursday.

The 25 detainees in the Etzion detention facility near Bethlehem started refusing food over two weeks ago, said Jaclyn Fararjeh, a lawyer for the prisoners rights group.

The prisoners say Etzion is crowded and for that reason, breaks have been reduced from an hour to only 30 minutes. Additionally, there is not enough food for the number of prisoners, they say.

Some of the prisoners accused the Israel Prison Service of placing them in solitary confinement without justification and beating them.

Before the 25 in Etzion, there were three prisoners remaining on hunger strike.

The prisoners rights group Addameer said Thursday that one of them, Akram al-Rekhawi, faces “an imminent threat to his life,” while independent doctors have been denied access to him.

Al-Rekhawi, a diabetic prisoner who has been on hunger strike for over two months, has been briefly hospitalized several times and returned to Ramle prison clinic, where he is only consuming water, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Another detainee, Samer al-Barq, entered his 38th day of hunger strike and his health too is deteriorating, Addameer said after a lawyer for the group, Mona Neddaf, visited him in Ramle.

“Due to the length of his hunger strike since April, with only one week in which he was receiving nourishment, Samer’s condition is now worsening,” the group said in a statement.

“He has a very low heart rate and prison doctors have warned against possible ramifications of the hunger strike on his brain. He is currently drinking only water with glucose.”

Administrative detainee Hassan Safadi is also on his 8th day of renewed hunger strike, after his detention was renewed this week despite an agreement by Israel that he would be released upon the expiration of his current order, Addameer said.

Meanwhile the prisoners rights group said that the health of Palestinian soccer player Mahmoud al-Sarsak, who ended a hunger strike of over 90 days earlier this month, was improving.

He now weighs approximately 58 kilos and has been transferred regularly for check-ups to Assaf Harofeh hospital, Addameer said. However, he is still detained in Ramle clinic.

“Though he still has a long road to recovery ahead and suffers from feelings of dizziness when he wakes up each morning, his health is improving,” the group said.

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