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Lawyer: Issawi 'critical' after 195 days on hunger strike

Feb. 12, 2013 2:48 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 14, 2013 4:47 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Samer Issawi is in a critical condition after 195 days on hunger strike in an Israeli prison, a lawyer said Tuesday.

Fadi Abedat, a lawyer for the Ministry of Prisoner Affairs, visited Issawi at Ramle prison clinic.

Issawi has severe leg, kidney, head and chest pains and a slow pulse. He is unable to move or sleep, the ministry said in a statement.

The Israeli Prison Service has isolated hunger strikers from each other and guards frequently raid their cells, Issawi told the lawyer.

Palestinian Prisoner Society lawyer Jawad Boulos, who also visited Issawi, said the detainee's weight had dropped to 46 kg and he was struggling to speak.

Issawi refuses administrative detention, a practice used by Israel to detain Palestinians without bringing any criminal charges against them and without a trial.

Speaking to Abedat, Issawi thanked all Palestinians who support him in his fight and said he would not quit his strike until Israel met his demands.

Issawi was released in the Oct. 2011 prisoner swap agreement between Israel and Hamas, which secured the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Gaza.

He was rearrested on July 7 and accused of violating the terms of his release by leaving Jerusalem. Israeli prosecutors are seeking to cancel his amnesty and detain him for 20 years, the remainder of his previous sentence.
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