An independent doctor who visited Palestinian prisoner and well-known soccer player, Mahmoud al-Sarsak, said on Wednesday that al-Sarsak is at risk of death and must be hospitalized immediately.Al-Sarsak has been on hunger strike for 84 days and is being held at Ramle prison clinic. He had not been allowed an independent doctor visit till last Wednesday. Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHR-I) were finally able to send a doctor to visit al-Sarsak on Wednesday after petitioning an Israeli court for permission.
Akram al-Rekhawi was also visited by the doctor. Al-Rekhawi has been on hunger strike for 56 days and was suffering from chronic illnesses before he began his hunger strike.
The doctor was refused permission to see the full medical files of the two prisoners, which goes against “medical ethic and professional standards” said Physicians for Human Rights and the Palestinian Council for Human Rights Organizations in a joint statement.
The doctor reported that al-Sarsak has been losing consciousness and suffers from memory lapses. The doctor is worried al-Sarsak is at risk of pulse disruptions that would endanger his life.
Al-Sarsak has been imprisoned in Israel without trial for almost three years and is demanding his release.
Both al-Sarsak and al-Rekhawi are suffering from drastic weight loss. The doctor is concerned about al-Rekhawi’s condition due to his prior illnesses and is advising al-Rekhawi is hospitalized immediately. Al-Rekhawi’s demand for early release was rejected by Israel on Tuesday.
Al-Rekhawi has been in Ramle clinic prison since his arrest in 2004. He usually refuses treatment from Israeli prison doctors because he does not trust them. The doctors have threatened to force feed him and have attempted to force him to accept treatment said the Human Rights group. Also, the prison doctors refuse to recommend he is released early on medical grounds.
PHRI and the Palestinian Council for Human Rights Organizations called on the UN and European parliament to intervene given that the two men face imminent death. They also called for intervention to allow hunger strikers access to independent doctors.
Al-Sarsak’s family have not been granted permission to visit him since his arrest and he has not been allowed to phone them.
‘The entire family and friends are afraid for Mahmoud’s life and the worry is killing us,’ al-Sarsak’s older brother, Emad, told Reuters on Tuesday.