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PPS: Israeli forces assault hunger-striker in court

Dec. 18, 2012 4:01 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 20, 2012 2:23 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Tuesday assaulted long-term hunger striker Samer al-Issawi during a court hearing, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society said.

Guards from the Alnhacon unit beat al-Issawi when he tried to greet his family in the Jerusalem court, said Jawad Boulos, adding that the prisoner's hands and feet were cuffed.

Al-Issawi has been on hunger strike for 140 days in Israel's Ramle prison and was briefly hospitalized when his heart dropped to 36 beats per minute.

Boulos said he asked the judge to adjourn the hearing as al-Issawi needed urgent medical treatment for chest pains but the judge refused and continued the hearing for 30 minutes.

The session was postponed to Dec. 27 and the judge ordered guards to take al-Issawi for medical treatment.

The Ministry of Prisoner Affairs said Tuesday that al-Issawi and Ayman Sharawneh, who has been on hunger strike for 171 days, refused Israeli proposals to release them to exile.

Sharawneh, 36, is suffering muscle spasms, memory loss and severe kidney and abdominal pains, the ministry's lawyer Fadi 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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