Three men on hunger strike to protest the conditions of their imprisonment by Israel are near death, according to a Red Cross spokesman who spoke with Agence France Presse on Friday.Although the International Committee of the Red Cross has not issued an official statement on these cases, the committee is in close contact with all of the hunger striking detainees, and has been monitoring their conditions since hunger strikes began last December.
Among the detainees near death is Hasan Safady, who was just transferred to the prison hospital after 85 days on hunger strike. The other two are Samer Barq and Ayman Sharawneh, who have both refused all food since June.
Juan Pedro Schaerer, the head of the Red Cross delegation to Israel and the Occupied Territories, stated, “ These people are going to die unless the detaining authorities find a prompt solution.” In addition, he challenged Israeli authorities on their force-feeding of other hunger strikers in the past. Schaerer said, “ It is essential that their choice be respected and their dignity preserved”, and noted that force-feeding hunger strikers is a violation of World Medical Association resolutions.
A mass hunger strike involving over 2,000 imprisoned Palestinians was ended in May after an agreement was made with Israeli authorities to release all prisoners being held without charge. Safadi resumed his hunger strike when he was not released as promised.
The other two are also demanding an end to the Israeli practice of ‘administrative detention’, in which they hold Palestinians without charge for renewable six month terms. They are also protesting the conditions in Israeli detention, which include solitary confinement and torture.
Since the hunger striking campaigns began last December, a number of detainees have come close to death, including Khader Adnan, who began the firat long term hunger strike and agreed to end it after 62 days when Israeli authorities promised his release.
The three men now near death have been on hunger strike far longer than Adnan, who was near death at 62 days. Safady has been on strike 85 days, consuming only liquid since his strike began.