Israel raids home of hunger striker

2013-02-18 22:22
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Jerusalem - Israeli police raided overnight the east Jerusalem home of a Palestinian prisoner who has been on long-term hunger strike, arresting his brother, family members and a police spokesperson said on Monday.

The raid took place in Issawiya on the northern outskirts of annexed east Jerusalem at the family home of Samer Issawi, a 33-year-old prisoner being held by Israel who has been refusing food since August.

"At 02:30, Israeli forces barged into our house without any warrant or order and locked us all in one room, while five men attacked Shadi and took him away," his sister Shireen told AFP.

"Lawyers were not allowed access to him and he had a secret hearing without a lawyer, which handed him a four-day detention," she said.

Israel police corroborated the arrest of Shadi Issawi, with spokesperson Luba Samri saying: "I can confirm he was arrested," but without giving any further details.

In a separate development, a Jerusalem court was to hold a Tuesday hearing on Samer Issawi's case, his sister said.

"Tomorrow at 14:30 at Jerusalem Magistrates Court, there will be a hearing for Samer," she said, adding that he had not been due in court until 14 March.

"We don't know what to expect."

Over the weekend, the EU expressed concern over the deteriorating health of Issawi and three other long-term hunger strikers, urging Israel to respect its human rights obligations towards the prisoners and permit family visits.

As well as Issawi, it expressed concern about Tareq Qaadan, 40, Jafar Ezzedine, 41 and Ayman Sharawna, 36, all of whom have been refusing food for an extended period.

Qaadan and Ezzedine, who both come from Araba village in the northern West Bank, were arrested on 22 November in a sweep which saw troops detaining 55 "terror operatives”, prisoner rights group Addameer says.

Both were handed a three-month detention order and began refusing food on 28 November to protest against their being held without charge under a procedure known as administrative detention.

Their detention orders are due to expire or be renewed on 22 February.

Issawi and Sharawna were long-term security prisoners who were initially released by Israel under terms of a prisoner swap deal in October 2011.

But within months, they were both rearrested following unspecified allegations that they violated the terms of the agreement, with Israel ordering them to serve out the remainder of their original sentences.

Sharawna was rearrested on 31 January and began refusing food on 1 July to protest against his re-arrest and demand his immediate release.

Issawi was arrested on 7 July and stopped eating on 1 August, to protest over his re-arrest and retrial based on information which was not made available to him or his lawyer.

Read more on:    eu  |  palestine  |  israel
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