Red Cross Warns Hunger Strikers Risk Death

The International Committee of the Red Cross on Friday warned that three Palestinian hunger strikers were at risk of death in Israeli jail.

Samer al-Barq is on his 116th day of renewed hunger strike, Hassan Safadi has been on renewed hunger strike for 86 days and Ayman Sharawna has refused food for 76 days.
 
"These people are going to die unless the detaining authorities find a prompt solution," said Juan Pedro Schaerer, head of the local ICRC delegation.

Force feeding the prisoners would contradict resolutions adopted by the World Medical Association, ICRC noted.

"It is essential that their choice be respected and their dignity preserved," ICRC said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli Prison Service could not be reached for comment.

Israel has detained al-Barq without charge or trial since July 2010. Al-Barq ended a month-long hunger strike in May after Israel agreed to address the issue of administrative detention. He resumed his hunger strike a week later when Israel renewed his detention without charge or trial.

Fares Ziad, a lawyer for the prisoner rights group Addameer, visited Ramle prison clinic on Tuesday but could not meet al-Barq, who was unable to leave his bed.

Safadi is suffering heart contractions and chronic pain in his kidneys and joints, Ziad said. Israel has never brought any charges against Safadi, despite detaining him repeatedly since the mid 1990s.

Safadi ended a previous 71-day hunger strike after Israel agreed not to renew the administrative detention of long-term hunger strikers in its May deal to end a mass strike.

He restarted his hunger strike in June when Israel renewed his detention order without a trial in breach of the deal.

Ziad also visited Sharawna, who is vomiting blood as well as the water he drinks, and has lost 80 percent of his vision in his right eye.

Sharawna was released in Israel’s prisoner swap deal with Hamas in October 2011, but rearrested in January. Israel has not charged him with any crime.

The Israeli Prison Service has denied family visits to the detainees, and has only allowed independent doctors to see them when ordered to by a court.

Following a court order, a volunteer doctor from Israel’s Physicians for Human Rights visited the detainees on Monday.

PHRI called for the immediate hospitalization of the hunger strikers and warned that their lives were in imminent danger.

The advanced physical damage of the detainees "raises grave concern for maltreatment and neglect by the Israeli Prison Service doctors," PHRI said in a statement Monday.

"Of special alert is the fact that the IPS medical staff was extremely hostile in its conduct with PHR Israel’s independent doctor, and did everything within its power to withhold medical information and intimidate the doctor.

"Also of deep concern is the fact that the hospital to which they were referred examined only those factors requested by the IPS and seems to overlooked complaints or other factors in the detainees’ condition – let alone order their hospitalization rather than returning them to the prison. This conduct, PHR Israel fears, puts their health and lives in further risk."

(Ma’an)

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