Following release of Mahmoud Sarsak, Palestinian prisoners continue to demand dignity.
Palestinian prisoner Akram Rikhawi has now been on hunger strike for a total of 101 days. Rikhawi is on hunger strike to demand his release from the Israeli prison system. He insists that he is too ill to be held in Israeli prison. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel reports that Rikhawi currently suffers from diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, glaucoma, kidney problems and immune deficiency. The Palestinian prisoner support network Addameer reports:
Prior to his arrest, Akram received injections of Kenacort to treat his asthma, but following his arrest, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) did not allow Akram to take this injection. Instead, it was replaced with injections of cortisone, which is most likely the cause of severe complications, resulting in additional chronic illnesses such as diabetes and osteoporosis, from which Akram now suffers.
Akram, the father of eight children, began his hunger strike in April to demand early release from his 9 year sentence. Like thousands of other Palestinians in Israeli prisons, Rikhawi was tried in front of an Israeli military tribunal. In 99% of these cases the defendants are found guilty. Rikhawi was convicted for “transporting suicide bombers,” but given the voluminous and detailed accounts of unfair court proceedings in Israel’s kangaroo courts Rikhawi’s guilt should in no way be assumed. As a side note, it should be said that while in prison, Palestinian prisoners are subjected to routine torture. Torture was explicitly authorized by the Israeli government, until its use was technically outlawed in 1999.2
Rikhawi is joined by other Palestinians who are also on protracted hunger strikes in protest of their detention. Samer al-Barq has been on hunger strike for 55 days, and Hassan Safadi has been on hunger strike for 71. Samer and Hassan are being held in what is known as “administrative detention” meaning that they have not received a trial and have not even been charged with a crime. Their continued detention is in direct violation of the agreement signed by the Israeli authorities to end the hunger strike of over 2,000 Palestinian prisoners this May. In the agreement, the Israeli authorities promised to end their practice of “administrative detention”. The Israeli authorities failure to maintain this agreement’s central tenet is shameful.
Please contact the following members of the Israeli government to demand the release of Akram Rikhawi, Samer al-Barq and Hassan Safadi.
• Brigadier General Danny Efroni
Military Judge Advocate General
6 David Elazar Street
Harkiya, Tel Aviv
Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
• Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon
OC Central Command Nehemia Base, Central Command
Neveh Yaacov, Jerusalam
Fax: +972 2 530 5741
• Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak
Ministry of Defense
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: +972 3 691 6940 / 696 2757
• Col. Eli Bar On
Legal Advisor of Judea and Samaria PO Box 5
Beth El 90631
Fax: +972 2 9977326
Students for Justice in Palestine is delighted to hear of the release of Palestinian national football player Mahmoud Sarsak who ended his hunger strike after more than 90 days.
- 1. "AKRAM ABDULLAH MOHAMMAD RIKHAWI ." Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association - ADDAMEER. Web. 21 July 2012. <http://addameer.org/etemplate.php?id=491>.
- 2. "Torture and ill-treatment in interrogations | B'Tselem." B'Tselem | The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Web. 21 July 2012. <http://www.btselem.org/torture>.