Palestinian prisoners to launch solidarity hunger strike

Ma’an News Agency reports: Palestinian prisoners are planning a one day hunger strike on Monday in solidarity with three prisoners who are still refusing food in protest against Israeli policies, a PA official said Saturday.

Prisoners affairs minister Issa Qaraqe said that all prisoners would return their meals in a gesture of solidarity with Mahmoud al-Sarsak, Akram al-Rekhawi and Samer al-Barq.

Prisoners announced the action in a statement, Qaraqe said, and Israeli prison authorities have also been also notified.

Mahmoud al-Sarsak, 25, from Rafah in southern Gaza, has been on hunger strike for 83 days. A soccer player on Palestine’s national team, he has been detained by Israel for nearly three years without charge and is demanding his release.

Al-Rekhawi, 38, has been held at Ramle prison clinic since his arrest in 2004 and suffers chronic illnesses including diabetes and asthma. He has refused food for 59 days.

Samer al-Barq, 38, joined the mass hunger strike on April 17, but ended the strike on May 14 along with around 2,000 other prisoners when Israel agreed to “facilitate” the detainees’ demand to end its policy of detention without charge or trial.

He relaunched his hunger strike after Israel renewed his administrative detention order on May 21.

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