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12 days in, Fatah decides to end ill prisoner's hunger strike

April 28, 2017 2:04 P.M. (Updated: April 29, 2017 5:22 P.M.)
Poster for the "Dignity Strike," depicting some of Palestine's most high profile prisoners.
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- The Fatah movement announced late Thursday evening that a decision was made to end a Palestinian prisoner’s hunger strike due to his critical condition and a severe deterioration to his health since he joined the “Freedom and Dignity” hunger strike six days ago.

Secretary of the Fatah movement in the Nablus-area village of Beita, Bashar Khreiwish, said in a statement that an organizational decision was made to end the hunger strike of Atef Abd al-Karim Mariah, who is from Beita and is serving a 16-year sentence in the Negev-area Ktziot prison.

Mariah began hunger striking on April 22, five days into the mass hunger strike that launched n Palestinian Prisoners' Day on April 17, in which an estimated 1,500 Palestinian prisoners have refused all forms of nutrition except salt and water.

In the ensuing days, Mariah developed a serious blood clot in his left leg, causing Fatah leaders to convince him to end his strike.
Atef Abd al-Karim Mariah

Khreiwish added that 34 prisoners from Beita have joined the hunger strike, led by imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, since it began.

Meanwhile, reports emerged from the Media Committee for Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger Strike -- a joint committee formed by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) and Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs -- that Israeli Prison Service (IPS) forces had assaulted prisoners in Ashkelon prison for not standing during a cell search.

Prisoners also claimed that IPS administration had been “conducting internal trials” for hunger-striking prisoners, imposing a series of punitive measures and fines of up to 500 shekels for anyone participating in the strike, in addition to moving prisoners to solitary confinement for up to 10 days at a time.

Head of the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe said on Wednesday that IPS forces had “continued to escalate punitive measures” against prisoners, which started on the first day of the strike, with IPS forces transferring prisoners and leaders of the strike to solitary confinement, and preventing lawyers from visiting prisoners, particularly sick prisoners.

Hundreds of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel have been participating in the hunger strike led by senior Fatah official Marwan Barghouthi since April 17 to protest the torture, ill treatment, and medical neglect of prisoners at the hands of Israeli authorities, as well as Israel’s widespread use of administrative detention -- internment without trial or charges.

Israeli authorities have detained approximately one million Palestinians since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967, according to a joint statement released last week by Palestinian organizations. According to prisoners' rights organization Addameer, some 6,300 Palestinians were held in Israeli custody as of March.

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