Imprisoned Palestinian parliamentarian and Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, who has been leading a large-scale hunger strike in Israeli prisons, suffered from a serious deterioration of his health today after forgoing food for eight days.
Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs chairman Issa Qaraqe said that Barghouthi was suffering from a severe drop in blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
According to the media committee covering the "Freedom and Dignity strike", created jointly by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs and the Palestinian Prisoner's Society, Barghouthi has refused to take medicine handed to him by Israel Prison Service (IPS) authorities in Al-Jalama prison in northern Israel.
The warden of Al-Jalama asked fellow Palestinian prisoner Nasser Abu Hmeid to convince Barghouthi to take the medicine, the media committee said, but Abu Hmeid refused, reportedly saying that "if Marwan Barghouthi dies, he will die a martyr."
IPS then punished Abu Hmeid by transferring him to Eshel prison, the media committee added.
More than 1,580 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel are participating in the hunger strike led by Barghouthi which was started on Palestinian Prisoners' Day marked on 17 April. They are demanding improved detention conditions, family visitation rights and an end to Israel's widespread use of administrative detention.
Qaraqe added that 25 Palestinians detained in Ramon prison in Israel joined the strike today.