RAMALLAH, West Bank – A Palestinian prisoner who had refused to eat for more than 100 days, demanding release from detention, is ending his hunger strike, according to an attorney and prison officials.
Attorney Jawad Boulus said Akram Rikhawi, 39, a resident of the Gaza Strip, told him he decided to halt his strike after an Israeli prisons committee agreed to release him from detention Jan. 25, five months earlier than his scheduled release date.
A spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service would not confirm an agreement for Rikhawi’s early release, saying only that the Palestinian prisoner had ended his strike.
Rikhawi, a father of eight, was sentenced to nine years in prison following his arrest in June 2004 for his activities during the second Palestinian intifada.
Boulus said he believes the decision for early release was made in light of Rikhawi’s long hunger strike, which caused him serious deterioration in health.
Rikhawi stopped eating on April 12, demanding early release due to health problems. He suffers from asthma and other chronic illnesses and said the Israeli prison clinic was not providing him with proper treatment and medication.
Three other Palestinian prisoners remain on hunger strike in Israeli jails.
-- Maher Abukhater
Photo: A Palestinian girl stands next to protesters holding posters showing Akram Rikhawi, right, and two other Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails refusing to eat, Mahmoud Sarsak, center, a former player with the Palestinian national football team, and Samer Al-Barq, left. The photo was taken during a June 9 demonstration in support of the prisoners in the West Bank town of Jenin. Credit: Mohammed Ballas / AP