Sunday, October 9, 2011

Health minister says prisoners’ lives at risk amid sanctions over hunger strike

[ 09/10/2011 - 06:51 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)--  Health Minister Bassam Na’im warned the Palestinian captives are in grave danger because of medical neglect inside the Israeli prisons, as the prison administrations have imposed tighter restrictions on the 13th day of hunger strikes including thousands.
Speaking at a sit-in outside of the Red Cross in Gaza on Sunday, Na’im said that many of the prisoners suffer from chronic illnesses, such as kidney disease and cancer, and have not received even minimal medical care ensured by the international laws.
Na’im added that the strike is the top priority on the agenda of Haneyya’s government “given the threat [the strike] is believed to have on the lives of our captured heroes in light of the Zionist policies of more crackdowns, isolation, and deprivation of their basic rights”.
Meanwhile, the International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights in Nablus said “very concerning results” of the strike were discovered in a visit with isolated prisoners in HaSharon prison.
An ISFHR lawyer found in long-awaited interviews with three prisoners that each prisoner lost 12 kg because of going on hunger strike for 13 days.
It also came to light that the prisoners, who joined the strike at its onset, were subject to a number of punitive measures, such as fines, restriction of family visits, a five-month ban on canteen, and they were transferred to even smaller prison cells.
Moreover, the Ashkelon prison administration had confiscated all salt, which is the only source of food the prisoners have used, as it is needed to preserve the intestines from damage after not eating for long periods.
The removal of salt from the prisoners bears very serious implications and has very concerning results, said ISFHR researcher Ahmed al-Beitawi.
However, the prisoners said they remained committed to following through with the hunger strike until their demands are met.
“Right after hearing that several of our brothers in captivity joined the hunger strike in solidarity with the prisoners in isolation, [we felt it was our duty] as isolated prisoners to be the first to take part in the strike to end our years of ongoing suffering under the ears and eyes of the entire world,” said one of the prisoners Hassan Salama.
He added that the prisoners are still in very high spirits despite repressive measures the prison authority has imposed against them, and they are determined to continue the strike.