Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike facing heart slowdown; possible brain damage

April 8, 2013 6:15 PM Saed Bannoura News Report, Palestine, Prisoners 0
08 Apr
6:15 PM

Samer al-Essawy, who has been on hunger strike over 250 days, may die at any moment, according to his doctors. After examining Essawy on Sunday, the doctors reported that his heart rate has slowed to 30 beats per minute, much lower than average, and he faces the distinct possibility of suffering permanent brain damage.His sister, Shireen al-Essawy, who is also his lawyer, reported last month that the Israeli government tried to negotiate a deal in which her brother would be sent into exile in the Gaza Strip, but he refused the deal.

In a statement, she said, “Same will not accept to be sent into exile especially while Israeli is escalating its violations that target the very existence of the Palestinians in their homes and lands.”

“This is the determination that Samer carries, from the first day of his strike”, she said, “It is either freedom and liberation, or martyrdom”.

After Sunday’s examination by doctors, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society held a press conference in which they condemned the Israeli practice of administrative detention, in which Palestinians are held without charges for extended periods of up to ten years in some cases.

This practice is what led Essawy and many others to engage in long-term hunger strikes to call on Israel to release the political prisoners it is currently holding without charge.

Jawad Boulos, an attorney with the Palestinian Prisoners Society, told reporters Sunday that the prison administration has engaged in unfair and illegal practices against Essawy and other prisoners, including forcing Issawi to wear leg cuffs between 8 am and 8 pm, and preventing him from sitting on a chair in his prison hospital room.

Essawy’s hunger strike is the longest among the Palestinian prisoners, and among the longest ever engaged in worldwide. He has repeatedly stated that he is willing to die for the cause of equal rights for the Palestinian people, and according to his doctors, he will likely die soon.

He has refused any vitamin supplements, and is currently only taking water with some sugar.

5 Palestinian Prisoners remain on hunger strike, the longest of which is Samer al-Essawy who has been on strike since August 1 2012.

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Saed Bannoura

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