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Jailed hunger strikers: We are fighting for dignity

Dec. 19, 2012 6:49 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 24, 2012 10:41 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike for over three weeks say their battle is a fight for freedom and dignity, in a message sent from Israel's Megiddo jail.

In a statement dictated to lawyer Samer Samaan, the group said the goal of their open hunger strike "is not just to gain our individual freedom but to end the practice of administrative detention, the pointed sword on the neck of the Palestinians."

"This is a battle in the fight for freedom and dignity despite all the continuing pain and torments that impair us, and despite all the pressure that we endure and is practiced against us by the Israeli Prison Service and Shabak to break our will from our steadfastness."

Jafar Azzidine, Tarek Qaadan and Yousef Yassin have been on hunger strike for 22 days, drinking only water and refusing all vitamins and supplements. They were arrested on Nov. 22 and are being held in administrative detention, without charge or trial.

They are still being held in cells with other prisoners but are taken in handcuffs for daily medical tests, prisoner rights group Addameer says.

"We call on the sons of our people to stand by us and to show responsibility for our fellow prisoners, especially Samer al-Issawi and Ayman Sharawneh who are nearing death," their statement added.

Sharawneh has been on hunger strike for 172 days and al-Issawi has refused food for 141 days.

Azzadine, 41, has been detained by Israel seven times and is suffering low blood pressure, continuous dizziness and headaches, protein deficiencies and pain in his joints, knees, hands and spinal cord.

Qaadan, 40, has been detained 13 times since 1989. In his prior arrest, he was sentenced to 15 months for speaking at a commemoration event at the American University of Jenin.

The detainees called on institutions to intensify efforts and "to raise our voices high in international forums to expose the barbaric occupation and its practices."

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