Last updated: 23 July, 2012

Palestinian prisoner ends lengthy hunger strike

Palestinian prisoner Akram al-Rikhawi ended a hunger strike of more than 100 days on Monday after authorities agreed to bring forward his release, Palestinian sources said.

“Rikhawi reached an agreement with a committee from the Israel Prisons Service to release him on January 25, 2013 instead of June 6, 2013, which was his release date,” the Ramallah-based Palestinian Prisoners’ Club said in a statement.

IPS spokeswoman Sivan Weizman confirmed Rikhawi had ended his strike but did not comment on the circumstances. She could not says precisely how long he had gone without food, as he had at various times stopped fasting and then resumed.

Rikhawi, who has served two thirds of a nine-year sentence, had been agitating for early release on medical grounds.

Along with footballer Mahmud Sarsak, he continued to fast after more than 1,500 other Palestinian prisoners ended a mass hunger strike in support of demands for better conditions in a deal with prison authorities in mid-May.

Sarsak was released on July 10.

One of the conditions of the May agreement was the renewal on a regular basis of family visits to prisoners from the Gaza Strip after a five-year ban.

A first group of Gazans made the trip to see relatives imprisoned in Israel on July 16 and a second wave of 33 family members visited 30 inmates on Monday, Weizman said.