JPost Two Palestinian prisoners continue hunger strike
- JPost Sun, Jun 3, 2012
The Jerusalem Post
Two Palestinian prisoners continue hunger strike
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Though most prisoners ended strike last month, two prisoners have been
striking for 59, 80 days, say will not stop until freed.
Two Palestinian security prisoners said Sunday they were continuing to
refuse food despite the recent agreement between Israel and the inmates
to end the hunger strike in Israeli prisons.
Mahmoud Sarsak said he has been on hunger strike for the past 80 days,
while Akram Al-Rikhawy has been fasting for 59 days.
The two men said they were being treated at a the Ramle Prison hospital
and that they were determined to continue with their hunger strike until
they are freed.
Under the terms of last month's Egyptian-brokered agreement, Israel said
it would ease restrictions imposed on security prisoners and end
solitary confinement. The Palestinians say that Israel also promised to
stop administrative detentions.
Sarsak, 22, of the Gaza Strip, is a soccer player with the Palestinian
National Team. He was arrested by the IDF in 2009, when he arrived at
the Erez border crossing on his way to the West Bank.
He has since been held in administrative detention.
A lawyer representing Addameer met with Sarsak last week and reported
that he was in "grave condition." Rikhawy, who is also from the Gaza
Strip, was arrested in 2004 and sentenced to nine years in prison for
He has since been held in the prison hospital as he suffers from a
number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, asthma and osteoporosis,
according to Addameer.
Issa Qaraqi, the PA Minister for Prisoners Affairs, voiced concern over
the deteriorating health of the two prisoners and called for their
He said that Sarsak was protesting against his continued detention
without trial, while Rikhawy was protesting against the Israeli court's
refusal to shorten his term for health reasons.
Qaraqi said that thousands of Palestinian prisoners were now threatening
to renew their hunger strike in protest against continued administrative
detentions "and other measures taken by prison authorities." Qaraqi told
reporters in Ramallah that conditions in Israeli prisons were "very
harsh" and accused Israel of violating the recent agreement that ended
the hunger strike.
He claimed that Israel has placed 30 Palestinians under administrative
detention since the agreement. He also claim that sick inmates were
being denied proper medical treatment.
According to figures released Sunday by Palestinian human rights
organizations, there are 4600 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, including
302 who are being held in administrative detention.