An Israeli Magistrate Court, in Jerusalem, sentenced Samer Al Issawi, who has been on a hunger-strike for 214 consecutive days, to eight months in prison retroactive from July 7, 2012. However, no date has been set for his release.
Al Issawi is still due to face other charges before the Israeli Ofer Military Court. This is in accordance with Article 186 of Military Order 1651, which allows a special Israeli military committee, made up of three military judges, to re-arrest prisoners that were released in the exchange deal of October 2011. Such released prisoners are those who Israel considers to have violated their release terms. This special Israeli committee can also re-impose the remainder of their original sentence. In Samer Al Issawi’s case this is 20 years out of his original sentence of 30 years, 10 of which he has already served. However, Ofer has not yet held any hearings with regard to this “secret case”.
This is the same magistrate court that denied the release of Al Issawi during an emergency hearing on account of his deteriorating health conditions. Samer is in constant pain, and suffers from headaches, dizziness, loss of sight, and numbness in his entire body. Moreover, he is unable to sleep, and now weighs a mere 47kgs.
Rumours have spread claiming Samer will be released on March 6th, however, MEMO contacted his sister, Shireen Al Issawi, who denied her brother’s release, as well as confirming his continued hunger-strike. She also confirmed Ofer’s decision to re-charge Samer with the remaining 20 years of his sentence.
Samer has been receiving widespread support both in and out of Palestine. Today, outside the Ofer Prison, where he is being held, as well as the Magistrate Court, hundreds of Palestinians protested for the release of Al-Issawi. In the ensuing clashes a number of protesters suffered injuries at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces. Notably, the iconic hunger-striker Khader Adnan was among the injured, reportedly suffering serious teargas inhalation injuries. He has since been hospitalized.