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Lawyer: 3 hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in critical condition

Nov. 22, 2016 11:44 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 22, 2016 6:24 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Three hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners are in critical situation, one of whom "could die at any moment," according to a lawyer for the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs.

Lawyer Karim Ajweh on Monday visited hunger strikers Anas Shadid, 20, and Ahmad Abu Farah, 29, who are being held at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tel Aviv, and Nour al-Din Amar, 30, who is being held in solitary confinement in Israel’s Ashkelon prison.

According to Ajweh, Shadid's health condition was the worst among the three, as he has been suffering from liver problems, difficulty breathing, eyesight problems, and severe weakness and pains all over his body.

Since Shadid began his hunger strike 60 days ago, he has lost nearly 24 kilograms of weight, according to Ajweh.

Abu Farah, who has been on hunger strike for 61 days, has lost 23 kilograms of weight, while also suffering from eyesight problems, muscle atrophy, severe abdominal pains, and severe weakness.

Abu Farah "can't even stand up or go to the toilet," Ajweh said, highlighting that the hunger striker has so far refused any medical tests.

Shadid and Abu Farah, both from the village of Surif in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, were being held solitary confinement in Israel’s Megiddo prison before being transferred to the hospital in Tel Aviv.

They were both detained on Aug. 1 and have been on hunger strike since Sept. 24 and Sept. 23, respectively, in protest of being placed under administrative detention -- an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence.

Ajweh also visited hunger-striking prisoner Nour al-Din Amar, who has been on hunger strike for 20 days, in protest of his five year solitary confinement order.

Amar has served a little over three years in solitary, and has not been treated for a broken arm he sustained during a beating by Israeli soldiers, according to his family.

According to Ajweh, he has lost six kilograms of weight, has started to suffer from general weakness and walking troubles, as he has refused all forms of nutrition except for water.

Amar has been in Israeli custody since 2002 serving a 30-year-sentence. His brothers Abd al-Salam and Nidal, who are also in Israeli custody, recently began abstaining from food and meals in solidarity with their younger brother.

Meanwhile, scores of Palestinian prisoners have launched hunger strikes in the past year to protest various issues, most notably administrative detention. The most prominent hunger strikers included Muhammad al-Qiq, Bilal Kayid, and brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul.

Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention, which allows detention for three- to six-month renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence, is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.

Rights groups have claimed that Israel's administrative detention policy has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political and social processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.

According to Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons as of October, 720 of whom were being held in administrative detention.

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