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Palestinian prisoner suspends hunger strike after Israel agrees to end solitary confinement

Aug. 24, 2016 6:18 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 24, 2016 8:39 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Palestinian prisoner Walid Masalma suspended his hunger strike after 38 days without food, after reaching an agreement with the Israel Prison Service (IPS) regarding his solitary confinement, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs announced on Wednesday.

Palestinian prisoner leadership and IPS agreed that Masalma would spend three more months in solitary before being transferred back into general population prison.

Masalma, a 41-year-old father of five who has spent the past 15 years imprisoned by Israel, began his hunger strike on July 18 to protest being held in solitary confinement since Oct. 26, 2015, after the IPS in Eshel prison claimed he attempted to escape.

He was since transferred to the Soroka Medical Center over his deteriorating health. Masalma has reportedly developed intense chest and kidney pains and suffered from fainting and vomiting spells, as well as passed blood in his urine.

Masalma was one of scores of Palestinian prisoners who have launched hunger strikes in recent months to denounce mistreatment in Israeli prisons and Israel’s policy of administrative detention -- internment without trial or charges.

One of the prisoners, Bilal Kayid, has gone without food for at least 71 days, and is one of the most high-profile hunger strikers since Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq came near death during a 94-day hunger strike before he was finally released in May.

According to Addameer, as of July, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons, 750 of whom were being held under administrative detention.
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