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Palestinian hunger strikers nearing death: Rights groups

15 December 2016 16:18

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A Palestinian rights group has warned against the imminent death of two hunger-striking prisoners, who have been refusing food for nearly three months in protest at their detention by Israel.

Anas Ibrahim Shadid, 20, and Ahmad Abu Farah, 29, face imminent death in the wake of severe deterioration of their health condition, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs warned on Wednesday.

According to Rafiq Masalha, a doctor with the rights group, Shadid has dangerously lost more than 15 kilograms of his weight, suffers from weakness throughout his muscles and extremities, and cannot sit or stand.

The inmate could also have sustained damage to his brain cells, vision nerves, kidney, liver, and heart, Masalha added.

Abu Farah is suffering from difficulty in speaking, severe eye weakness. He also feels pain in his arm and leg muscles, has lost a large amount of fat, and has been suffering from an allergy that has affected his stomach and chest.

On Monday, the hunger strikers started refusing water in reaction to the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss their release appeal.

The prisoners’ lawyer Ahlam Hadad said the court “did not take seriously” the medical reports that showed Abu Farah’s and Shadid’s critical health condition.

She said Shadid has almost entirely lost his sight and ability to speak, while Abu Farah has completely lost sight in his right eye and suffers from severe headache and chest pains.

Shadid and Abu Farah were arrested on August 1, and are being held in solitary confinement at Israel’s high-security Megiddo prison ever since.

The young Palestinian men, both residents of the southern occupied West Bank city of Surif, have been on hunger strike for 81 and 82 days respectively.

More than 6,500 Palestinians are reportedly held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have apparently been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention – a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli jails without trial or charge.

Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to eleven years.

The Palestinian inmates regularly hold hunger strikes in protest at the administrative detention policy and their harsh prison conditions.

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