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Health of PFLP leader on hunger strike 'very worrying'

Oct. 10, 2011 2:30 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 11, 2011 1:42 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Fears are growing about the health of imprisoned PFLP leader Ahmad Saadat, as Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails entered day 14 of a hunger strike sparked by Saadat's solitary confinement.

Head of the Palestinian Prisoners' Society legal team Jawad Boulos said Monday he had visited the Popular Front leader in Israel's Nafha prison on Sunday night, and described his condition as "very worrying."

Saadat had to leave the visit due to severe vomiting, Boulos said.

Meanwhile PFLP released a statement quoting a senior official saying the movement holds the Israeli government fully responsible for the life of their leader, who has been held in isolation for three years.

Saadat was captured by Israeli forces from a Palestinian Authority prison in Jericho in 2006. Israel sentenced him to 30 years for masterminding the assassination of former Israeli tourism minister Rahavam Zeevi in 2001.

PFLP-affiliated detainees launched the hunger strike on Sept. 27 to protest worsening prison conditions, after which other factions joined the strike in prisons throughout Israel.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said in a press statement on Monday that conditions for Palestinians in Israeli jail were "cruel and degrading."

"50 detainees from the Gaza Strip have been deprived of family visits and contacts for more than five years, while 20 detainees continue to be held in solitary confinement and have been refused family visits for over 3 years," the statement said.

Thousands of demonstrators staged rallies in the West Bank and Jerusalem and set up sit-in tents this week to support prisoners who are refusing food.

According to latest reports from the Palestinian Authority 6,000 Palestinians are being detained in Israeli prisons, including 219 in Administrative Detention who are held without charge.
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