Palestinian prisoner ends 102-day hunger strike

Published Monday, July 23, 2012

A Palestinian prisoner has ended his 102-day hunger strike after Israel agreed to a deal to release him early.

The Palestinian prisoners' charity Addameer confirmed that Akram Rikhawi had ended his strike after Israeli negotiators agreed he would be freed in six months time.

The date means Rikhawi, who is serving a nine-year sentence for allegedly aiding suicide bombers, will be released in January 2013 – six-months earlier than previously scheduled.

Rafah-born Rikhawi had been refusing food since April 12 over Israel's refusal to release him despite long-standing medical conditions including diabetes and asthma.

A lawyer for Addameer visited Rikhawi at a hospital at the Ramleh prison on Monday and confirmed he had agreed to the deal.

"The decision was reached as his health has entered a critical stage. He is suffering from kidney problems and is unable to walk," an Addameer spokesperson told Al-Akhbar.

Addameer has previously criticized Rikhawi's sentence, which he allegedly confessed to after being tortured.

The group said during his interrogation he had been stripped naked and put in a room with dogs to scare him into confession.

Following Rikhawi's decision, three Palestinians remain on hunger strikers in Israeli jails, Addameer said.

Samer al-Barq has been on hunger strike for 63 days and his health is deteriorating, according to a report by Physicians for Human Rights Israel, while Hassan Safadi and Ayman Sharwna have completed 33 and 23 days without food respectively.

(Al-Akhbar)

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