Document - Israel/OTP: Further information: Palestinian still at risk after hunger strike: Akram Rikhawi

URGENT ACTION



Further information on UA: 212/12 Index: MDE 15/044/2012 Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories Date: 25 July 2012


URGENT ACTION

PALESTINIAN STILL AT RISK AFTER HUNGER STRIKE

Akram Rikhawi ended his 102-day long hunger strike on 22 July, after the Israeli authorities agreed to release him six months early. He needs urgent specialist treatment for several severe and chronic medical conditions.

A lawyer from local NGO Addameer visited Akram Rikhawi on 23 July 2012 and told Amnesty International that he had agreed to end his hunger strike the previous day. On 23 July he was transferred from solitary confinement to a room with other prisoners. He is held in the Israel Prison Service (IPS) clinic in Ramleh prison, Israel, which cannot provide the specialist care he needs. It is unclear whether he has been provided with nutritional guidelines to ensure his diet is appropriate to someone coming off a prolonged hunger strike, particularly as he is understood to be fasting during the day for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Throughout his hunger strike he was permitted only two visits from an independent doctor working for local NGO Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I), who visited on 6 June and 4 July and made recommendations, including that he be examined by a lung specialist and that his right eye be examined to assess if he needs surgery for a possible cataract. PHR-I have made several requests for him to have regular access to an independent doctor.

On 19 July, Addameer, PHR-IL and another local human rights organization, al-Haq, issued a statement reiterating concerns for his deteriorating health, after he was visited by lawyers who apparently said he could not move his left leg or left hand, and that on 17 July he had fallen, striking his head on the ground: after this he was briefly treated in Assaf Harofeh hospital.

Akram Rickhawi suffers from several chronic health conditions, including diabetes, asthma, osteoporosis and high cholesterol. According to a PHR-I doctor, he has been given very high does of steroids for his asthma “which can cause severe long-term and irreversible damage”.

Please write immediately in Hebrew, English or your own language:

  • Urging the authorities to ensure that Akram Rikhawi is given full access to specialized medical treatment for his conditions, including any further examinations he requires in civilian hospitals with specialized facilities, and access to an independent doctor of his choice.


PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 4 SEPTEMBER 2012 TO:

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence

Ehud Barak, Ministry of Defence

37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya

Tel Aviv 61909, Israel

Fax: +972 3 69 16940 / 62757

Salutation: Dear Minister



Israel Prison Service Commissioner

Lieutenant-General Aharon Franco

Israel Prison Service, PO Box 81

Ramleh 72100, Israel

Fax: +972 8 919 3800

Salutation: Dear Lieutenant-General




And copies to:

Military Advocate General

Brigadier General Danny Efroni

6 David Elazar Street

Hakirya, Tel Aviv, Israel

Fax: +972 3 569 4526

Email: avimn@idf.gov.il



Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:

Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation


Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the first update of UA 212/12. Further information: www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/040/2012/en

URGENT ACTION

Palestinian still at risk after HUNGER STRIKE

ADditional Information

Akram Rikhawi, 38, was arrested by Israeli security forces at a checkpoint in 2004 while he was travelling to his home in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. He was sentenced by a military court later the same year to nine years’ imprisonment. Amnesty International is not aware of the offences of which he was convicted.

He joined a recent mass hunger strike involving some 2,000 Palestinian prisoners and detainees who were protesting against poor prison conditions, including solitary confinement, denial of family visits and detention without charge. The hunger strike came to an end on 14 May 2012 following an Egyptian-brokered deal with the Israeli authorities. The deal included an agreement by the authorities to end the solitary confinement of 19 prisoners and lift a ban on family visits for prisoners from the Gaza Strip. Between 16 and 23 July, around 92 relatives were allowed to visit Palestinians from Gaza held in Ramon (also known as Nafkha) prison, southern Israel. This is the first time since 2007 that the Israeli authorities have allowed families from Gaza to visit their relatives in Israeli prisons. Akram Rikhawi was not among those permitted a visit, and has not seen his family, who live in Gaza, since 2006.

While on hunger strike, Akram Rikhawi was held in solitary confinement, apparently as punishment. He started his hunger strike in protest at the inadequacy of his medical treatment in prison which led him to request early release, which he was denied twice. PHR-I has made several requests to the IPS for him to see an independent doctor as well as an appeal to the District Court, but he has only been allowed two such visits.

On 24 June Akram Rikhawi was taken to the public Assaf Harofeh Hospital, in Israel, where he spent two days shackled to the bed – a form of ill-treatment - until he was transferred back to prison.

According to Addameer, at least three other Palestinian men held in Israeli prisons are still on hunger-strike. Hassan Safadi and Samer al-Barq are protesting their continuing detention with charge (Read more at: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/038/2012/en). Ayman Sharawna was arrested on 31 January 2012 three months after being released as part of a prisoner exchange in October 2011 when 477 Palestinian prisoners were freed by the Israeli authorities in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was released more than five years after he was captured by Palestinian armed groups from Gaza in a cross-border raid on 25 June 2006. According to Addameer, the Israeli authorities say that Ayman Sharawna broke the conditions of his release and is now serving the remainder of his sentence. He has been on hunger strike since 1 July 2012 in protest at his renewed imprisonment. The three men are reported to be held in solitary confinement.




Name: Akram Rikhawi

Gender m/f: m




Further information on UA: 212/12 Index: MDE 15/044/2012 Issue Date: 25 July 2012


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