Israel Releases Palestinian Hunger Striker Samer Issawi

Administrative detainee formerly released in Gilad Shalit deal and imprisoned again in August 2012, to return to East Jerusalem neighborhood.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

The Israeli Prison Service released Monday Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi, known for his eight-month-long hunger strike and the public campaign against his administrative detention.

Issawi, who was one of the 1,027 prisoners released from Israeli prison in the deal for the freedom of Gilad Shalit, was re-arrested last August for violating the terms of his release.

Shortly after his return to prison, he began a hunger strike, and received only liquids fortified with vitamins, which kept him alive. Due to the strike, he lost more than half his weight.

On April, it was reported that Issawi has agreed on a deal brokered by Israeli and Palestinian officials to serve eight months for allegedly violating bail conditions for an earlier release, after which he will be freed to his Jerusalem home.

Outside Shita Prison on Monday Issawi was welcomed by family, friends and representatives of the Palestinian Prisoner Club, a non-governmental organization which aids Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. Issawi is expected to be welcomed back into his village of al Issawiya, in East Jerusalem.

Issawi's mother, Laila Issawi, said Samer is still very weak and that his condition requires constant examination and treatments. She added that due to his prolonged hunger strike, he is still unable to eat solid foods.

Issawi's cause was adopted by several Israeli authors and scholars, including literary luminaries A. B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz and Yehoshua Kenaz.

Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi's case reached the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court in 2012.Credit: Oren Nachshon
Laila, mother of Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi, waits outside of Shita prison, Dec. 23, 2013.Credit: AP

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