Samer Al-Issawi Declares New Hunger Strike In Solidarity With Female Palestinian Prisoners

Prominent Palestinian prisoner Samer al-Issawi and Munther Sunober have been on hunger strike for four days at the Israeli Nafha jail, the PA committee for prisoners’ affairs said Friday morning.

Issawi, from occupied Jerusalem, and Sunober, from Nablus, were forgoing food to obtain the end of the mistreatment of Palestinian female prisoners and allowing doctors’ visits to Palestinian sick prisoners.

His demands also included the transfer of these prisoners to a detention facility closer to the courts in which the detainees are tried, that the prisoners be provided with appropriate medical treatment, and that international NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) be allowed to visit the prisoners.

Their demands also include the removal of a security ban on a number of prisoners’ family visits.

Issawi, 37, gained global recognition in 2012 when he began a hunger strike to protest being re-detained by Israel after he was freed as part of the 2011 Wafa al-Ahrar Swap deal.

Sunober, 40, was sentenced to four life sentences plus 30 years.

Upon signing a deal guaranteeing his release, the East Jerusalem native ended his strike in April 2013 after 266 days without food.

Al-Issawi was released in December 2013, only to be detained once again six months later.

In 2015, al-Issawi joined a hunger strike in solidarity with fellow prisoner Muhammad Allan to denounce Israel’s policy of administrative detention — internment without charges or trial.

Scores of Palestinian prisoners have launched hunger strikes in the past year to protest administrative detention or the conditions of their incarceration. The most prominent hunger strikers included Muhammad al-Qiq, Bilal Kayid, and Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul.

According to Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons as of August. The prisoners rights group estimates that 40 percent of Palestinian men have been detained by Israel at some point in their lives.