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Ministry: Long-term hunger strikers refuse exile

Dec. 18, 2012 1:34 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 25, 2012 7:25 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Two hunger-strikers in critical condition in an Israeli prison have refused exile, the Ministry of Prisoner Affairs said Tuesday.

Ayman Sharawneh, 36, has been on hunger strike for 171 days and is suffering muscle spasms, memory loss and severe kidney and abdominal pains, the ministry's lawyer Fadi Abedat said.

Samer al-Issawi has refused food for 140 days in Israel's Ramle prison and was briefly hospitalized when his heart dropped to 36 beats per minute, the lawyer added.

Israeli authorities proposed releasing al-Issawi and Sharawneh to exile but both prisoners refused, Abedat said.

Israeli prison services spokeswoman Siwan Weizman said both men were still on hunger strike but that they were "both fine." Weizman told Ma'an that al-Issawi had been returned from hospital to Ramle jail.

Sharawneh and al-Issawi were rearrested after being freed in the Oct. 2011 prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas . They are on hunger strike to demand their release.

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