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Sharawna, Issawi 'threaten to escalate hunger strikes'

Nov. 26, 2012 5:09 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 27, 2012 1:44 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians who have refused food in Israeli jail for several months are threatening to escalate their hunger strikes, legal and medical representatives said Monday.

Ayman Sharawna told an independent doctor working for Physicians for Human Rights - Israel last week that he wants to intensify his 149-day hunger strike.

PHR-I filed a court petition on Monday demanding Sharawna be moved permanently to a civilian hospital from Ramla prison clinic, requiring him to be unshackled.

He refuses to move to hospital while he is kept in restraints, which is humiliating and further stresses the neurological damage to his legs, a representative of PHR-I told Ma'an.

The insistence of the Israeli prison service that Sharawna, who has lost 38 kilograms during his strike, does not need to be hospitalized is "really absurd," she said. The group filed a legal petition after talks with the service had been exhausted, she added.

Regular fainting spells

Meanwhile, Samer Issawi, who has been on hunger strike for 118 days, started refusing water on Nov. 21, prisoner rights group Addameer said.

He is fainting several times a day, and injured his back after he passed out during the night this week, an Addameer representative said.

Issawi, from Jerusalem, and Sharawna, from Hebron were both released under the 2011 prisoner swap deal but rearrested shortly after, and are being held without charge.

Another hunger-striker, Odai Kilani, has refused food for 36 days to protest the renewal of his administrative detention order and is suffering body pains, Addameer said.

Despite their weak state, the prisoners were strip-searched on return from a hospital prison check-up last week, and need several permissions in order to go to the bathroom, the groups said.

Another prisoner, Muhammad Kananeh, ended his 16-day hunger strike when authorities agreed to move him into a section for Palestinians held for "security" reasons on Nov. 7, Addameer said.

A Palestinian citizen of Israel, he had protested his categorization as a criminal as his charges related to a protest against Israeli occupation.

The remaining hunger-strikers cannot be adequately treated at a prison clinic due to the severity of their situation, PHR-I said. Sharawna's condition is "really dangerous ... it could become critical at any point," a representative said.

The Gaza-based Prisoners Center for Studies said all Palestinian prisoners would refuse food on Tuesday in solidarity with the hunger-strikers.
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