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Lawyer: Issawi's pulse dangerously low

April 7, 2013 7:09 P.M. (Updated: April 8, 2013 10:04 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Samer Issawi's pulse is dangerously low after being on hunger strike for over eight months, his lawyer said Sunday.

Medics at Israel's Kaplan Medical Center notified Issawi that he risks brain damage and sudden death after he started refusing supplements in his water on Saturday.

Issawi is taking only sugar in his water and his pulse has dropped to 30 beats per minute, his lawyer Jawad Bulous told reporters.

The prisoner started refusing supplements after an Israeli guard refused to allow him to sit by a window in his hospital room. Doctors had advised Issawi to expose his body to sunshine.

Guards chain Issawi's leg to the bed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Bulous said, adding that Issawi considered the shackling an act of spite.

Doctors were seriously concerned about Issawi's condition on Saturday night and urged him to take supplements, Bulous said.

"A number of prison service officers exerted pressure on him to try and convince him to end the hunger strike or agree to be deported to the Gaza Strip," the lawyer said.

Issawi refused all offers and insisted he would not end the strike unless he was freed to his hometown of al-Issawiya in East Jerusalem.

At the hospital, Bulous complained about the "immoral" behavior of Israeli prison guards, and doctors promised not to carry out any medical tests if Issawi is in chains, he said.

Issawi was admitted to the Kaplan Medical Center on Feb. 27.

He has been on hunger strike since Aug. 1 to demand his release.

Issawi was granted amnesty in the Oct. 2011 prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas.

Israeli forces rearrested Issawi on July 7, claiming that he violated his release terms by leaving Jerusalem. Israeli prosecutors are trying to cancel Issawi's amnesty and reinstate his former sentence.
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