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Formerly hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners still suffering from health issues

July 3, 2017 4:22 P.M. (Updated: July 3, 2017 6:54 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- More than two months after the suspension of a mass 40-day hunger strike launched by Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel, 16 of its participants held in Nafha prison have continued to suffer from a range of difficult health conditions.

A representative of Nafha prisoners, William al-Rimawi, told attorney from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Fadi Ubeidat about the sick prisoners, and called for an immediate intervention to transfer the prisoners to hospitals.

Al-Rimawi identified the sick prisoners as:

- Imad al-Sarraj, who has lost his ability to speak, has also been suffering from physical difficulties feeding himself, as he has not be able to eat solid food since ending his strike. Al-Rimawi noted that the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) promised to transfer al-Sarraj to hospital in the upcoming few days.

- Wael Abu Shikhidim has been suffering from swelling in his body and was transferred to a hospital after a week of severe illness, and has also suffered from breathing problems and anemia.

- Shadi Abu Shikhidim has been suffering from kidney stones in his ureter, body swelling, and severe chronic headaches.

- Tahrir Zeid has been suffering from chronic pains and issues on both sides of his back and stomach, severe headaches, and difficulty breathing. He was sent to a medical clinic, which did not yield results.

- Nour Jaber has been suffering from health issues in his kidney, stomach, and chest, constant dizziness, back pain, and impaired vision.

- Jamal Amro has been suffering from severe pains throughout his body and has still been deprived of receiving lawyer visits.

- Usayd Abu Bakr has been suffering from stomach pains.

- Mahmoud al-Khatib has been suffering from issues with his teeth and stomach.

- Muhamad Daleisha has been suffering from pains in his entire body. It is worth noting that his mother died during the hunger strike.

- Majid Jarad has been suffering from skin irritations.

- Muhammad Elayyan has been suffering from side effects of orchiectomy surgery.

- Ahmad Daleisha has been suffering from chest pains and reported suffering from the onset of Alzheimer's since the end of the hunger strike.

- Khalil al-Shillo also said he had started to suffer Alzheimer's symptoms since undertaking the hunger strike, and that he “can’t remember anything.”

- Shawqi Abu Athara has been suffering from severe pains all over his body.

- Alaa Ghneim has been suffering from eating disorders and has not been able to eat solid foods since completing the strike. He has also suffered from pains and health issues in his stomach.

- Mahmoud al-Khatib -- who shares a name with one of the aforementioned sick prisoners -- has been suffering from teeth issues and hasn’t been provided with any form of medical care.

Since the conclusion of the strike, many of its participants have reported suffering from serious psychological issues since the strike, including insomnia and hallucinations.

The medical neglect of Palestinian prisoners was a central issue during the recent hunger strike, which also included demands for an end to the denial of family visits, the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention -- imprisonment without charge or trial -- among other demands for basic rights.

The hunger strike reportedly resulted in a number of agreements being reached between Palestinian prisoners and Israeli authorities, including an agreement to gather all female Palestinian prisoners in HaSharon.

Since the end of the strike, however, the committee has stated that the mistreatment of Palestinian inmates was still ongoing, whereas a prisoner’s relatives claimed that he had since been subjected to an arbitrary prison transfer as punishment for his leading role in the strike.
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