ISSN 2330-717X

PA: Prisoners To Launch Solidarity Hunger Strike

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Palestinian prisoners are planning a one day hunger strike on Monday in solidarity with three prisoners who are still refusing food in protest against Israeli policies, a PA official said Saturday.

Prisoners affairs minister Issa Qaraqe said that all prisoners would return their meals in a gesture of solidarity with Mahmoud al-Sarsak, Akram al-Rekhawi and Samer al-Barq.

Prisoners announced the action in a statement, Qaraqe said, and Israeli prison authorities have also been also notified.

Mahmoud al-Sarsak, 25, from Rafah in southern Gaza, has been on hunger strike for 83 days. A soccer player on Palestine’s national team, he has been detained by Israel for nearly three years without charge and is demanding his release.

Al-Rekhawi, 38, has been held at Ramle prison clinic since his arrest in 2004 and suffers chronic illnesses including diabetes and asthma. He has refused food for 59 days.

Samer al-Barq, 38, joined the mass hunger strike on April 17, but ended the strike on May 14 along with around 2,000 other prisoners when Israel agreed to “facilitate” the detainees’ demand to end its policy of detention without charge or trial.

He relaunched his hunger strike after Israel renewed his administrative detention order on May 21.

On Friday, UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk said Israel must present evidence to support charges against al-Sarsak or release him.

Israel will be responsible for any permanent harm caused to prisoners on long-term hunger strike, he added.

Around 2,000 prisoners joined a mass hunger strike launched on April 17 to demand fair prison conditions, according to prisoners groups’ estimates.

Another group of prisoners held in administrative detention launched an earlier strike in protest at their detention without charge.

Prisoners’ representatives signed an agreement with Israeli authorities on May 14 for prisoners to halt hunger strikes and “security activity” inside Israeli jails in exchange for Israeli “facilitation” on policies toward solitary confinement, family visits and living conditions.

Maan

Launched in 2005, Ma'an News Agency (MNA) publishes news around the clock in Arabic and English, and is among the most browsed websites in the Palestinian territories, with over 3 million visits per month.

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