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4 Palestinian hunger striking prisoners face worsening health

Aug. 18, 2016 9:14 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 19, 2016 12:01 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Four hunger striking Palestinians prisoners have experienced worsening health conditions, according to statements released on Thursday.

The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs reported in the statement that Israel Prison Service (IPS) moved Palestinian prisoner Ayyad al-Hremi from Israel’s Ofer prison to Ramla hospital after his health deteorated.

Al-Hremi, a Bethlehem resident, has been on hunger strike for 34 days in protest of being held in administrative detention -- an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial.

A lawyer from the committee Loay Akka added that the health of the Balboul brothers has worsened each day, saying that Muhammad has been suffering from allergies, shortage of vitamins, weight loss, and extreme exhaustion, while Mahmoud has suffered from similar symptoms.

Muhammad and Mahmoud have been on hunger strike for 45 and 48 days respectively in protest of their administrative detention.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) released a statement on Thursday saying that 45-yera-old Palestinian prisoner Bassam al-Sayeh, a resident of Nablus who was detained on October 8, is being held in Israel’s Ramla prison hospital where his health has also worsened.

Al-Sayeh attened a meeting with his lawyer on a wheelchair, according to the statement, and reportedly faced difficulty speaking. The lawyer demanded to sit closer to al-Sayeh to be able to hear him, but the prison authorities refused, forcing al-Sayeh to write to his lawyer on a piece of paper.

According to his lawyer, al-Sayeh is suffering from blood cancer and heart failure, and was taken to Israel’s Assaf Harofeh Medical Center after suffering from severe pains, breathing problems, and a lung infection.

The statement added that after going through several medicals tests, PPS has proved the prisoner’s need for receiving a heart device implant.

Israel’s policy of administrative detention, almost exclusively used against Palestinians, has been widely criticized by rights group which have accused Israel of using the policy to erode Palestinian political and social life by detaining scores of Palestinians without proof of wrongdoing.

The large-scale solidarity movement among prisoners has resulted in an equally massive crackdown on mostly PFLP prisoners by the Israel Prison Service (IPS), which has conducted multiple raids, cell block closures, confiscations of personal property, and transfers of detainees in attempts to quell the strikes.

Israeli authorities have also blocked hunger-striking prisoners from visiting their lawyers, claiming their health conditions could not permit the visitations.

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