Addameer: Health of Hunger Strikers Continues to Deteriorate as Strike Escalates

Ramallah, 13 November 2012 – Addameer is deeply concerned for the lives of three hunger strikers and the health of one former hunger striker who are held in Israeli prisons.

Ayman Sharawna has been on an open hunger strike since 1 July 2012; today marks his 136th day of striking. Addameer lawyer Fares Ziad recently visited Ayman at Ramleh prison medical center, and found Ayman’s health so drastically deteriorated that in addition to the previously reported pain in his right leg, joints, kidneys, skin problems and memory loss, he is now unable to stand, speak easily or urinate, and just recently has been able to ingest water. Ayman is now taking fluids through injection, although medical intervention by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has caused him pain and infections.

Ayman has also been suffering from eye problems, and doctors have told him that there is a blockage in the veins to his eyes. However, he declined the IPS offer to transfer him to a civilian hospital for an eye examination due to their intention to shackle his arms and legs during transport and treatment, despite his inability to stand. Ayman was re-arrested in January after being released in the prisoner exchange deal in October 2011. He is currently held without charge and an Israeli military committee has not yet reached a decision regarding whether or not Ayman will be returned to his previous sentence.

Samer Al-Issawi has been intermittently on hunger strike since 1 August 2012. His health is deteriorating rapidly, and he has pain in his kidneys; has difficulty drinking water and standing. He recently tried to stand but lost consciousness and hit his head on the bed and injured his left thigh. He is now taking six vitamins as a result of a recent blood test which found severe mineral deficiencies. Currently, he is only drinking two glasses of water a day, as he feels ill when ingesting water. Like Ayman Sharawna, Samer was re-arrested after being released as part of the prisoner exchange deal in October 2011. He was arrested on 7 July 2012 and is currently held without charge, awaiting the decision of an Israeli military committee which will decide if Samer is to be returned to his previous sentence.

Addameer can also report that Palestinian detainee and human rights activist, Mohammad Kana’aneh (47), launched an open hunger strike on 23 October 2012. Mohammad, from the village of Arabat Al Batouf in 1948 territories, was first arrested on 16 June 2011, accused of participating at a demonstration on 4 June 2011 in the Golan Heights commemorating the Naksa. He was released two months later and placed under house arrest. On 2 April 2012 he was rearrested, accused of breaking the terms of his house arrest. Since his re-arrest, the IPS have put him in the criminal sections of the prisons he has been held in, both in Shata and Salem prisons. Mohammed launched his hunger strike in protest of his arbitrary arrest and his continued detention amongst criminals. In response, the IPS put Mohammad in isolation for one week, withheld his salt, and imposed a fine of NIS200. Mohammad, now on his 22nd day of hunger strike, has lost 12 kilograms in weight and at times has refused to drink even water.

Former hunger striker Akram Rikhawi (38) is suffering from severe health consequences from his 102 day strike, which ended on 24 July 2012, after a deal was reached for his early release. Akram has numerous health conditions which have worsened since his hunger strike, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a chronic eye condition that has required two surgeries. The nerves in his left leg are also damaged from the hunger strike and he now uses a crutch to help him walk. Addameer lawyer Fares Ziad recently visited Akram and found that a recent CT scan revealed that he has gallstones in both kidneys, and an abnormal left kidney. Akram is continuously denied family visits, receiving only two since 2005 and therefore all communication with Akram has been through his lawyers. According to the terms of the agreement which ended his hunger strike, Akram is due to be released in January 2013.

Addameer demands accountability for all of Israel’s human rights violations related to the continued hunger strike. It is imperative that Ayman Sharawna, Samer Al-Issawi, Akram Rikhawi and Mohammad Kana’aneh are treated humanely, with dignity, and receive immediate independent medical attention.


*Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that the hunger striking prisoners be released immediately.
Brigadier General Danny Efroni
Military Judge Advocate General
6 David Elazar Street
Harkiya, Tel Aviv
Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526
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
*Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release the hunger strikers.