Palestinian hunger strikers 'close to death'

Samer Barq, one of the three prisoners refusing food, has been moved to intensive care as his blood sugar level dipped.

    One of three long-term Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli detention has been moved to a hospital intensive care unit suffering from a drop in blood sugar, a spokeswoman for the Ramallah-based Palestinian Prisoners Club has said.

    Amani Sarahna said that Samer Barq, one of three prisoners on hunger strike for weeks to demand their release from detention, was placed in intensive care at Assaf Harofeh medical centre, in central Israel, early on Monday evening.

    "It looks as if he is refusing to take liquids or vitamins," she said, citing doctors who she said called his lawyers.

    Barq began his initial hunger strike on April 15, in conjunction with the mass hunger strike taken up by approximately 2,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who were demanding better conditions, including an end to the arbitrary methods of administrative detention and long-term isolation.

    According to Addameer, a Palestinian NGO working to support political prisoners in Israeli and Palestinian prisons, Barq ended his hunger strike with the other prisoners on May 14, but resumed on May 21 after Israel issued new administrative detention orders.

    Sivan Weizman, Israel's Prisons Service spokeswoman, said that Barq was moved from prison to the civilian hospital on Sunday, but that she was not permitted to give details of a prisoner's medical condition.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Friday that Barq and fellow hunger strikers Hassan Safadi and Ayman Sharawneh were close to death.

    "These people are going to die unless the detaining authorities find a prompt solution," the head of the ICRC delegation in Israel and the occupied territories, Juan Pedro Schaerer, said in a statement.

    One of the terms of the accord was that those held without trial in administrative detention would go free at the end of their current terms, unless fresh evidence emerged against them.

    Safadi went back on hunger strike after his detention order was renewed.

    Addameer reported Safadi's health has significantly worsened, and by September 10 he was unable to drink any water at all.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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