Samer Issawi is dying in jail as he is held without charge

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Omar Daraghmeh

Many people all over the world fasted last Monday to support the Palestinian prisoner, Samer Al-Issawi who has been on an open hunger strike for more than 175 days. There has been no charge against him until now.

An Israeli magistrate court held a hearing on Issawi’s case today and denied his appeal. Samer will have to wait another 20 days to face the Ofer military court on February 5th where the court will decide either to release him or keep him in prison. If it goes to the latter choice then he might lose his life as he announced before that he will never end his strike until he has his freedom

Al-Issawi, who realizes the meaning and the significance of this confrontation, seems not to care much about the results as he stressed, I quote, “I will not retract from the battle of freedom except as a martyr”. However, he knows the difference between living free or remaining a captive who is deprived from the right to practice his life as he craves and loves. This has to be a harsh duel to make his captors understand that his destiny is no longer in their hands and they cannot determine his options

When the morning of every day emerges, Samer renews this fight. Except that for Al-Issawi, who took his stomach as a weapon, every day the fight is harsher than its predecessor as his weak body becomes filled of wounds and aches. He is unable to endure all of the lunges that fell brutally over his body; most recently being the assault which he experienced inside the Israeli courtroom when he was brought in on a wheelchair after his feet failed to carry his body.

Samer al-Issawi, 33, is close to death as many of his organs have become vitality threatened after he stopped taking vitamins This puts him in a direct confrontation with certain death as he insisted on continuing the strike according to a recent announcement by the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs.

Al-Issawi, was arrested 4 times and spent 12 years in Israeli jails, and was freed from captivity in the prisoners exchange deal after he was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment on charges of military operations. Later, he decided to run an open hunger strike to protest his re-arrest under the Israeli allegations of violating the terms of the prisoners exchange deal.

Al-Issawi was born in the village of Al-Issawiya northeast of Jerusalem, where he was reared in a house of patriotism and sacrifice; his grandfather was one of the first members who joined the Palestinian Liberation Organization movement. Also, his grandmother was martyred during the years of the first Intifada, while his father and mother suffered the bitterness of detention in the early 1970s and were shocked later when they heard the news about the martyrdom of Samer’s eldest brother in 1994 due to the events that followed the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre. Furthermore, his six brothers and sisters have been arrested as well.

Samer’s mother called on the Egyptian side, as the mediator and the sponsor of the prisoners exchange deal, to intervene to secure the release of her son and all the other prisoners who have been re-arrested. She said, “I was shocked when I saw Samer for the first time after his arrest and his declaration of hunger strike to protest the re-arrest, where his body became weakened, tired and exhausted that he could not walk. I want him to come back the way he went out from my house, that is, in a good health and well-being. I do not want to receive a damaged lifeless flesh; my son dies every day and we die with him every hour.” She continued in a sad choked voice: “I wished death the moment he was attacked by the Israeli soldiers while trying to touch my hand in the recent court session, where he was beaten brutally before the eyes of the judges of the Court.”

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