Addameer Prisoner Support & Human Rights Association lawyer Fares Ziad recently visited three of the twelve Palestinian political prisoners currently on hunger strike in Israeli jails. Ziad confirmed that the health of all three continue to rapidly deteriorate, with one hunger striker savagely beaten by five Israeli soldiers. All three have been on hunger strike for 99 days.
On August 4th, 5th and 6th Ziad visited Mohammad Rimawi in Suroka Hospital in Beer Sheva and confirmed that Rimawi stopped taking vitamins, water and minerals on 4 August. Rimawi is suffering from severe problems in liver and kidney function, general weakness, fatigue and dizziness and is unable to walk without assistance.
On 5 August Mohammad was informed that he would be moved to another section within the hospital. Upon enquiring about the reasons for the proposed move Rimawi had his hands and legs shackled and was then thrown on the ground and savagely beaten by five Israeli soldiers who were guarding him. Ziad confirmed that that the bruises on Rimawi are still clearly visible.
Following the attack Mohammad was moved to another section within the prison and shackled to the bed. He was then visited by an Israeli officer who threatened to force feed him if he continues his strike, while also threatening to move him to isolation in Ramon prison without providing any medical treatment until he dies in his cell. When Rimawi told the officer about the recent attack he was told he didn’t care and that they can treat him with violence and force due to the lack of international attention on his case, particularly from Jordan.
Rimawi subsequently told the head of hospital department where he being held in about the threats he had received from the Israeli officer. The hospital official, who is also a doctor, told Rimawi that as long as he is conscious nobody can force feed him but once he loses consciousness doctors can do whatever it takes to keep him alive, even without Rimawi’s permission.
Mr. Fares also visited Abdullah Barghouthi who is currently being held in Affoulah hospital. He remains in critical condition, and suffers from a number of ailments including problems with his liver, low blood pressure and constant migraines. He is also unable to walk without assistance and is taking only water, salt and mineral supplements. Currently Barghouthi is shackled to a bed by his right hand and his left foot and is guarded by three Israeli soldiers. Like his fellow hunger strike Barghouti has been threatened with force feeding should he fall into a coma.
Fellow hunger striker Ala’ Hammad is also being held in Suroka Hospital in Beer Sheva and was until recently being held in the same room as Mohammad Rimawi. Hammad remains in critical condition. On 5 August Hammad fainted and remained unconscious for five hours, without the guards calling a doctor. After finally receiving treatment Hammad regained consciousness.
All three hunger strikers hold Jordanian citizenship and are demanding to be released from Israeli prisons to serve the remainder of their sentences in Jordan in line with previous agreements between Israel and Jordan. Addameer again calls on the international community to immediately intervene to save the lives of all hunger strikers and pressure Israel to abide by its legal obligations. Addameer condemns the treatment to which hunger strikers are subjected to, particularly the physical abuse and the threats of force feeding which according to the World Medical Association’s Declaration on Malta states ‘is never ethically acceptable’.