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Lawyer: Issawi's heart could stop at any moment

March 25, 2013 12:07 P.M. (Updated: April 3, 2013 3:04 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Samer Issawi's heart could stop at any moment, a lawyer said Monday, as the prisoner's health continues to deteriorate after 236 days on hunger strike.

Israeli doctors told Palestinian Prisoners Society lawyer Fawaz al-Shalawdi that Issawi's heartbeat had decreased to 28 beats per minute and his blood glucose has fallen to 65 milligrams per deciliter.

Doctors say his heart could stop at any moment.

Issawi suffers from breathing problems, constant dizziness and severe pain in his abdomen and kidneys, al-Shalawdi said.

"Despite my critical health situation, and all that I suffer from, I promise everyone that my health situation will not affect my decisions," Issawi said in a letter.

"I will continue my open hunger strike, and will not retract my steps. My life is not more precious than the blood of Palestinian martyrs."

Issawi was hospitalized in late February and stopped drinking water earlier in March. He was too sick to attend a hearing at Israel's Ofer military detention center last week.

On Feb. 21, a magistrates court in Jerusalem sentenced Issawi to eight months in prison, but he has yet to face a military committee which could imprison him for 20 years.

The director of the Palestinian prisoners’ club, Qadura Fares, said the court's decision was "a judicial farce that only happens in Israel," labeling the Israeli government a "mafia."

In March, Issawi said his death would be a victory for refusing to surrender to Israel's occupation.

"Do not worry if my heart stops. I am still alive now and even after death, because Jerusalem runs through my veins. If I die, it is a victory; if we are liberated, it is a victory, because either way I have refused to surrender to the Israeli occupation, its tyranny and arrogance," he wrote in The Guardian.

Issawi was freed in the Oct. 2011 prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel, but soldiers rearrested him on July 7, accusing him of violating the terms of his release by leaving Jerusalem.

Israeli prosecutors are seeking to cancel his amnesty and reinstate his former sentence.
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