Palestinian hunger strikers “close to death” | #PalHunger

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Al Akhbar English Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Two Palestinian hunger strikers are at serious risk of death and should be immediately transferred to a civilian hospital, an independent physicians group said on Wednesday.

Bilal Thiab and Thaer Halahleh have been on hunger strike for 63 days in protest of their continued detention without trial in an Israeli jail.

A doctor from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel visited the men on Monday and concluded that Diab is at immediate risk of death while Halahleh is deteriorating rapidly.

“Both detainees suffer from acute muscle weakness in their limbs, which prevents them from standing,” the report said.

“They both suffer from an acute decrease in muscle tone and are bedridden, which puts them under dual threat: muscle atrophy and Thromobophilia, which can lead to a fatal blood clot,” it added.

The report recommended that both men be immediately transferred to a civilian hospital in order to receive adequate medical attention, a request so far refused by Israel.

The two men are held under so-called “administrative detention,” which enables Israel to detain Palestinians without charge indefinitely.

The system was highlighted earlier this year by the hunger strikes of Khader Adnan and Hana Shalabi, which led to international condemnation of Israel’s oppression.

Since beginning their hunger strike, they have been joined by about 2,000 more prisoners who began an open-ended protest on April 17.

Sahar Francis, head of the Palestinian prisoners’ rights charity Addameer, said there was little indication that Israel would reconsider their use of detention without trial.

Asked if she thought Thiab and Halahleh could die in the coming days, she said, “Unfortunately if Israel is insisting on their position that these people remain in administrative detention, then the detainees will continue in their hunger strike and we will be in a situation where I am afraid that is what will happen.”

“We could lose these two detainees or others of course, because even being 50 days in hunger strike it doesn’t mean you are still in good condition, you never know when the body could collapse,” she told Al-Akhbar.

Activists have said the deaths of any prisoners on hunger strike would cause large protests in the streets, with an uprising against ongoing Israeli oppression likely.

When asked about the effect the deaths would have on the situation in Palestine, Francis said, “I don’t want to think about that, it could be very big trouble on the public level, with thousands of Palestinians on the streets.”



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