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Issawi family delivers letter to EU demanding his release

April 8, 2013 6:53 P.M. (Updated: April 10, 2013 10:04 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The family of hunger striker Samer Issawi handed a letter to EU officials on Monday demanding his release from Israeli prison custody, a Palestinian official said.

Issawi's family handed the letter to the Office of the European Union Representative in East Jerusalem, former minister of Jerusalem affairs Hatim Abdul-Qadir told Ma'an.

Several representatives of Palestinian national and Islamist parties, together with other family members of Palestinian prisoners, were present when the letter was handed over.

The letter criticized the EU's "indifference" to the plight of hunger striking Palestinian prisoners, Abdul-Qadir added.

Israel is expected to respond to the letter within 48 hours, an EU official said, adding that EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has contacted Israel to start discussions about Issawi's release.

The PA ministry of detainee affairs said Monday that Issawi will boycott future hearings at Israeli courts, with Ofer detention center announcing that a hearing will take place on May 9, a statement said.

Issawi is taking only sugar in his water and his pulse has dropped to 30 beats per minute, his lawyer Jawad Bulous said Sunday.

He was admitted to the Kaplan Medical Center on Feb. 27 and has been on hunger strike since Aug. 1 to demand his release.

Issawi was granted amnesty in the Oct. 2011 prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas.

Israeli forces rearrested Issawi on July 7, claiming that he violated his release terms by leaving Jerusalem. Israeli prosecutors are trying to cancel Issawi's amnesty and reinstate his former sentence.
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