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ICRC urges Israel to allow family visits to hunger strikers

Feb. 2, 2013 3:31 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 5, 2013 12:14 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross is urging Israel to find a solution to save the lives of hunger-striking Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, and to allow their families to visit them.

The ICRC is concerned that long-term hunger strikers Samer Issawi, Tareq Qadan, Jaffar Ezzedin and Ayman Sharawneh could suffer cardiac arrest or other fatal complications, representative Dr Nikoloz Sadradze said in a video recorded on Friday.

He said the Red Cross was trying to ensure the detainees would not be force-fed or forcefully treated, in line with international standards protecting their free will.

"We also constantly remind Israel that family visits are a right," he said. The Red Cross also "urges Israeli authorities to find a prompt solution for these people in order to save their lives," he continued.

On Thursday, prisoners society lawyer Jawad Bolous said Samer Issawi, who has been on partial hunger strike since August, now weighs just 47 kilos and "appears to be just bones."

Issawi, from East Jerusalem, was previously released in the Oct. 2011 prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel, but was rearrested in July.
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