[Ppnews] Concern mounts for the life of Akram Rikhawi on his 85th day of hunger strike

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jul 5 12:39:55 EDT 2012

Concern mounts for the life of Akram Rikhawi on his 85th day of hunger strike


An independent doctor from PHR-IL visited Akram 
Rikhawi yesterday and an Addameer lawyer visited 
him today, along with Samer Al-Barq and Hassan 
Safadi. Samer and Hassan are still denied access to independent doctors.

Joint Press Release, Addameer Prisoner Support 
and Human Rights Association and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel

Ramallah-Jaffa, 5 July 2012­

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-IL) and 
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights 
Association are gravely concerned for the life of 
Rikhawi, who is now on his 85th day of 
strike. An independent doctor from PHR-IL visited 
Akram in Ramleh prison medical center yesterday, 
4 July, which was made possible only after an 
appeal to the Israeli District Court, where the 
judge eventually ordered the Israeli Prison 
Service (IPS) to allow the entry of the 
independent doctor no later than 3 July.

Following the visit to Akram, the PHR-IL doctor 
reported the alarming deterioration of Akram’s 
asthma, which continues to be unstable. The 
doctor believes Akram has been given very high 
doses of steroids as treatment, which can cause 
severe long-term and irreversible damage. The 
doctor reiterated recommendation for immediate 
examination by a lung specialist, which was not 
performed as recommended after the 
visit by an independent doctor on 6 June.

Akram also reported that he is experiencing 
severe dizziness, can no longer walk and is 
having difficulty standing. Even more troubling, 
Akram has not been given any assistance in these 
matters, leaving him vulnerable to the danger of 
falling, which could result in fatal injury due 
to his osteoporosis. The doctor further noted 
that Akram is experiencing tingling and numbness 
in his left thigh, which could indicate 
peripheral nerve damage, and recommended 
immediate examination in a public hospital, for 
fear of permanent neurological damage.

The IPS has continued to punish Akram for his 
hunger strike by confiscating his books and 
reading materials, isolating him from other 
prisoners and cancelling his daily break. He is 
also being held in a cell with no fan or air 
conditioning, despite the high humidity and how badly it affects his asthma.

Akram pointed out to the independent doctor and 
to Addameer lawyer Mona Neddaf in her visit today 
that he was recently hospitalized at Assaf 
Harofeh Hospital, but was shackled at all times 
to the hospital bed and felt his needs were 
mostly ignored by the medical staff. He 
emphasized to Ms. Neddaf his desire to have 
unrestricted access to the independent doctors from PHR-IL.

Ms. Neddaf also visited Samer Al-Barq, who is on 
his 45th day of renewed hunger strike in protest 
against the extension of his administrative 
detention. Ms. Neddaf noted that he seems 
significantly weaker than during her 
visit on 25 June. He is consuming only water with glucose.

Samer’s family has reported that he suffers from 
kidney problems and high blood pressure and has 
lost more than 25% of his original weight. On 21 
June, PHR-IL submitted a request to allow access 
for independent physicians. On 25 June the IPS 
denied this request without providing any reasons.

Hassan Safadi is on his 15th day of 
hunger strike, after previously spending 71 days 
on prolonged hunger strike. His last 
administrative detention order was due to expire 
on 29 June and, according to the agreement ending 
Palestinian prisoners’ mass hunger strike, he was 
supposed to be released on that date. However, 
his lawyer was informed on 21 June of the renewal 
of his administrative detention order for a 
further six months, in violation of the agreement.

According to Ms. Neddaf after her visit with him 
today, Hassan’s lawyer submitted a request to the 
military judge that he review the agreement and 
consider his immediate release. The judge 
responded that he would give a decision on this 
matter in two weeks. Hassan stressed that he will 
not break his hunger strike until he is release to his home in Nablus.

Hassan was transferred to Ramleh prison medical 
center last week and is currently being held in 
an isolated cell. He is drinking water with salt 
and taking vitamins due to a low potassium level 
in his blood. He has lost approximately 8 kilos 
in weight since the beginning of his renewed 
strike. PHR-IL submitted a request to allow 
access for an independent doctor on 26 June and 
have not yet received a response from the IPS.

In light of the deterioration of the conditions 
of the remaining Palestinian prisoners on hunger 
strike, PHR-IL and Addameer urge the 
international community to immediately intervene on their behalf and demand:
    * unrestricted access for independent physicians to all hunger strikers;
    * the immediate transfer of Akram Rikhawi and 
Samer Al-Barq to a public hospital, and the 
transfer of all prisoners on hunger strike for 
more than 40 days to public hospitals;
    * that no hunger striker be shackled while hospitalized;
    * that all hunger strikers­especially those 
in advanced stages of hunger strike­be allowed 
family visits, while they are still lucid;
    * that all information be given to families 
as to the medical condition of their loved ones, 
which is the responsibility of hospitals and 
medical staff in accordance with standards of medical ethics;
    * that Akram Rikhawi be granted release on humanitarian grounds;
    * that Hassan Safadi and Samer Al-Barq, along 
with all other administrative detainees, be 
immediately and unconditionally released.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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