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Prisoner suspends hunger strike over health issues

April 14, 2016 4:44 P.M. (Updated: April 15, 2016 4:38 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian prisoner Shukri al-Khawaja suspended his hunger strike after four days due to his health condition, as other prisoners maintained their strike to denounce al-Khawaja’s extended solitary confinement.

The head of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society’s legal unit said that 15 prisoners at the Ofer prison were continuing their open hunger strike in solidarity with al-Khawaja, who has been held in solitary confinement since 2014.

The hunger-striking prisoners were identified as Muhammad Nasser, Muhammad Adawin, Muhammad Kifaya, Islam Hamed, Rajab Mteir, Muhammad Mteir, Hamed Abdo, Amjad Abu Alya, Numan Makhtub, Sharhabil Atta, Hasan Hamdan, Amir Saad, Ali Yaqoub, Jad Yaqoub, and Mreiteh Shreiteh.

Many Palestinians have gone on hunger strike to protest the Israeli practices of lengthy solitary confinement and administrative detention -- internment without trial or charge -- with journalist Muhammad al-Qiq coming close to death earlier this year after he went 94 days without food before Israel finally agreed to his release.

Rights groups have long criticized Israel for mistreatment of Palestinians in Israeli jails, as well as the illegality of their imprisonment. Prisoners’ rights group Addameer has documented extensive use of both solitary confinement and isolation by Israel's prison service, under circumstances the group says are violations of international law.

Many Palestinian prisoners face torture, denial of family visitation, and medical negligence.

Earlier this month, Palestine Prisoners’ Center for Studies spokesman Riyad al-Ashqar said solitary confinement was also being used by Israel against hunger-striking prisoners as a way to pressure them into ending their strike.

According to Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians are being held in Israeli prisons.
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