Samer Issawi (Image: Shahd Abusalama)

Samer Issawi (Image: Shahd Abusalama)

Samer Issawi, a Palestinian prisoner in Israel, is in dire straights after 203 days on hunger strike in protest against Israel’s abusive prison system. Issawi has been refusing food since July 2012 – making his hunger strike one of the longest in the world.

The 33-year old stopped drinking water and taking vitamins earlier this month. Now confined to a wheelchair, Issawi’s weight has dropped below 47 kilograms, his vision is weakening, and he is vomiting blood and fainting. To date, Issawi has refused medical care.

Issawi was first arrested in 2002 and sentenced to 30 years in prison for forming a military group and weapons possession. He was released in October 2011 in the prison swap for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured by Hamas in 2006. Issawi was re-arrested in July 2012 and accused of violating the terms of his release by leaving Jerusalem. The Israeli government wants to cancel his original release and detain him for the remaining 20 years left on his previous sentence.

There are no other charges against him.

To make matters worse, Issawi’s family reportedly face constant harassment by Israeli forces, water access has been cut to his sister’s house, and his brother’s home has also been demolished.

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