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Rekhawi 'saw death' during hunger strike

Feb. 11, 2013 8:13 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 13, 2013 3:32 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Freed detainee Akram Rekhawi on Monday said his 100 day hunger strike was the hardest stage of his nine-year prison sentence.

"I saw death many times a day and it was very painful and Israeli doctors treated me very badly," Rekhawi, 39, told Ma'an.

Rekhawi, who was released on Thursday, said Israeli prison doctors deliberately withheld treatment until prisoners were beyond help.

"Yes, they're offering us medical treatment, but only after they make sure the disease has spread all through our bodies and that there is no hope in treating us."

A father of eight, Rekhawi suffers from diabetes, asthma and osteoporosis and was held in Ramle prison clinic since his detention in 2004.

Rekhawi spent six years in a cell with Ashraf Abu Threa, who died in January two months after his release from Israeli jail. The Palestinian Prisoners Society said Israeli authorities were responsible for Abu Threa's death after neglecting his serious health conditions during his detention.

"He suffered chronic diseases and was unable to lift his hands to his mouth to eat and Israeli authorities refused to release him before he ended his sentence," Rekhawi said.

Other hunger strikers are battling death everyday in Ramle prison, Rekhawi said, calling for the release of all Palestinians from Israeli jails.
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