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Lawyer: Israel pressuring Issawi to end hunger strike

April 16, 2013 2:20 P.M. (Updated: April 20, 2013 10:35 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Intensive efforts are being made by Israel to convince hunger-striking prisoner Samer Issawi to end his protest action, a lawyer said Tuesday.

Israeli negotiators have been visiting Issawi at Kaplan Medical Center since Friday and pressuring him to accept proposals to end his hunger strike, Palestinian Prisoner Society lawyer Jawad Boulos told Ma'an after visiting Issawi on Tuesday.

Doctors said that the prisoner's heart is very weak, Boulous added.

Issawi has been on hunger strike for over 265 days and has so far refused all offers by Israel to be exiled, insisting on being released to his home in Jerusalem.

On Friday, Israel offered a deal to exile Issawi to a UN member country, a spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said.

Israel tried to make him agree to be deported to a number of countries, including Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Finland and Switzerland, Boulous added.

Israel has also offered to exile him to the Gaza Strip.

Issawi, 33, was first arrested in 2002 and sentenced to 26 years for military activities on behalf of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

He was released by Israel under a prisoner swap deal in October 2011, but rearrested last July for violating the terms of the agreement by traveling to the West Bank from east Jerusalem.

Israel says Issawi had gone to the West Bank to establish "terror cells" there and has ordered that he serve the remainder of his original sentence.

Issawi is the last of four Palestinian prisoners who were on extended hunger strikes in Israeli prisons, after two ended their fast in February and a third was exiled from the West Bank last month to the Gaza Strip for 10 years.
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