Document - Israel/OPT: Further information: Prisoner in need of urgent medical treatment: Akram Rikhawi

URGENT ACTION

Further information on UA: 212/12 Index: MDE 15/045/2012 Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories Date: 02 August 2012

URGENT ACTION

PRISONER IN NEED OF URGENT MEDICAL TREATMENT

Former hunger-striker Akram Rikhawi received his third visit from an independent doctor on 25 July. However, recommendations that he receive urgent specialized treatment and medical tests for his multiple and deteriorating health problems have not been addressed.

The visit followed a ruling by the Petah Tikva district court on 23 July that Akram Rikhawi should be given access to an independent doctor within two days. Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I) had appealed against the Israel Prison Service’s refusal to allow him such a visit.

PHR-I’s doctor reported that Akram Rikhawi’s asthma is very unstable despite steroid treatment and it remains a concern, pointing out that asthma can prove fatal if the sufferer has a severe attack. Despite repeated recommendations from PHR-I doctors, he has still not been given a lung function test to assess the extent of the damage caused by his asthma. He also needs treatment for his diabetes which was discontinued during his 102-day hunger strike and there is evidence of progressive nerve damage to his left thigh for which he requires specialist neurological treatment.

Prior to 25 July, he was visited by a PHR-I doctor on 6 June and 4 July. The organization has made several requests for him to have regular access to an independent doctor as well as for the specialized treatment and tests he requires in a civilian hospital.

Akram Rikhawi ended his hunger strike on 22 July when the Israeli authorities agreed to release him on 25 January 2013, six months before his sentence expires.

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

Urging the authorities to ensure that Akram Rikhawi is transferred immediately to a civilian hospital and given full access to specialized medical treatment for his conditions, including the further tests he requires and regular access to an independent doctor of his choice;

Urging them to ensure that all prisoners and detainees, including those on hunger strike, are allowed regular, private access to independent doctors, families and lawyers, treated humanely, and not punished in any way for their hunger strike.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 13 SEPTEMBER 2012 TO:

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

Minister of Public Security

Yitzhak Aharonovitch

Ministry of Public Security

Kiryat Hamemshala

Jerusalem 91181, Israel

Fax: +972 2 584 7872

email: sar@mops.gov.il

Salutation: Dear Minister

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 second update of UA 212/12. Further information: www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/044/2012/en

URGENT ACTION

Prisoner in need of urgent medical treatment

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 southern 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 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 doses of steroids for his asthma “which can cause severe long-term and irreversible damage”.

Akram Rikhawi 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. Since 16 July, the Israeli authorities have allowed a limited number of relatives to visit some Palestinians from Gaza who are held in prison in 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 Israel Prison Service (IPS) for him to see an independent doctor as well as appeals to the District Court, but he has only been allowed three such visits. The Israeli authorities maintain that anyone visiting prisoners and detainees should first undergo a security check. PHR-I submitted to the IPS a list of eight doctors who could make medical visits several months ago, but, as of the end of July, only three had been security-cleared.

According to the NGO Addameer, at least three Palestinian men held in Israeli prisons are still on hunger-strike. Hassan Safadi and Samer al-Barq are protesting their continuing detention without charge (read more at: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/038/2012/en). A third man, 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. He is apparently held in solitary confinement in Ramleh prison’s medical clinic.

Name: Akram Rikhawi

Gender m/f: m

Further information on UA: 212/12 Index: MDE 15/045/2012 Issue Date: 02 August 2012

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