samerissawiiPalestinian political prisoner, Samer Issawi, whose 222-day hunger strike captured the attention and solidarity of the Palestinian people and people around the world, was released on December 23 to mass celebration.

Though the Israeli occupation forces attempted to prohibit marches or rallies in his Jerusalem hometown, Issawiyeh, and raided his home a day before, summoning Samer’s father, Tariq and brother, Medhat, Issawi was welcomed home by cheering crowds, celebrating his victory.

Issawi was released from occupation prisons in the October 2011 prisoner exchange agreement and was re-arrested in July 2012, accused of travelling to another Jerusalem-area town, allegedly violating the terms of his release (although the town sits within Jerusalem municipal boundaries.) The Israeli occupation threatened to re-impose his original twenty-year sentence. In protest, Issawi launched a hunger strike which ended with an agreement to release him on December 23.

The Free Samer Issawi Campaign, now called the Global Campaign for Palestinian Political Prisoners, held daily “Twitter storms” using social media to highlight Issawi’s case. Events took place across Palestine and around the world in solidarity with Issawi’s strike.

He rejected multiple proposals to displace him to Gaza, insisting that Jerusalem – Issawiyeh – was his hometown, and he would not leave.

Issawi was recently named 2013 Person of the Year by Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper, and the Electronic Intifada published a new interview with Issawi following his release.

For more information:

Free Samer Issawi Campaign/GCPPP on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/GCFPPP

Issawi’s release places individual hunger strikes in spotlight, Linah Alsaafin, Al-Monitor: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/12/samer-issawi-release-palestine-prisoners-hunger-strike.html

Person of the Year 2013: Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi, Al-Akhbar English: http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/person-year-2013-palestinian-hunger-striker-samer-al-issawi

Solidarity helped me keep fighting, says released hunger striker Samer Issawi, Budour Yousef Hassan, Electronic Intifada: http://electronicintifada.net/content/solidarity-helped-me-keep-fighting-says-released-hunger-striker-samer-issawi/13049