Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Wed, 06/20/2012 – 17:30
Palestinian prisoner Akram Rikhawi is gravely ill after 70 days of his ongoing hunger strike. Today, Addameer and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) warned in a joint statement that his life remains at imminent risk.
Calling for continued international solidarity actions, the groups demanded that Israel move him to a civilian hospital, end its policy of restricting visits by independent doctors, and lift its ban on family visits to hunger striking prisoners.
They also expressed concern for Samer Al-Barq, who is on his 31st day of renewed hunger strike today to protest his administrative detention without charge or trial.
The statement noted:
- Addameer lawyer Mona Neddaf was able to visit [Rikhawi] yesterday in Ramleh prison medical clinic, though independent doctors from PHR-Israel are still being denied regular access to him since last visiting on 6 June.
- Ms. Neddaf noted following her visit that Akram is extremely tired and weak and now weighs only 49 kilos. Furthermore, since 16 June he is refusing any vitamins and fluids through an IV. Though he is sustaining himself on water alone, Ms. Neddaf was troubled to observe that even drinking water is now very difficult for him and he is only able to consume approximately one liter per day.
Rikhawi, who suffers from chronic diabetes and asthma, was arrested in 2004 and sentenced to 9 years imprisonment by Israeli military courts. According to an earlier Addameer release:
- Akram launched his hunger strike on 12 April, demanding that his medical condition be considered during the discussion of his request for an earlier release. Every prisoner is entitled to ask to be considered for an earlier release when he has served at least two thirds of his sentence.
Today, Addameer and PHR-Israel urged continued action on behalf of still hunger striking Palestinian prisoners:
- Surely the increased action from individuals and institutions all over the world on behalf of Mahmoud Sarsak contributed to Israeli authorities’ acceptance of his demands, and it is therefore clear that urgent pressure is needed on behalf of Akram Rikhawi and Samer Al-Barq as well, before it is too late.
On Monday, Palestinian national footballer player Mahmoud Sarsak ended a three-month hunger strike that brought him to the edge of death, after Israel acceeded to his demands to free him on 10 July.