Palestinian hunger striker Shalabi at risk of "imminent death," hospital transfer reportedly refused
According to Addameer (Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association) and Physicians for Human Rights - Israel (PHR-I), the Israel Prison Service has refused to transfer Hana al-Shalabi to hospital despite her grave medical situation due to more than a month of hunger strike and immediate risk of death, Electronic Intifida reports in an article on March 20. In a joint release, the two organizations stated:
As of today, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) is refusing to transfer Ms. Shalabi to the hospital, despite yesterday’s urgent reports by her doctor that she should be transferred immediately. Addameer, PHR-Israel and Al-Haq are certain that the quality and facilitation of medical care administered by the IPS is not adequate to attend to her current condition. Meanwhile, today, the Israeli military judge of the Court of Appeals postponed yet again making a decision regarding Ms. Hana Shalabi’s four-month administrative detention order following a meeting with her lawyers and the military prosecution.
Following an urgent report issued by the PHR-Israel doctor who examined Ms. Shalabi yesterday, 19 March, which concluded that Ms. Shalabi is in immediate mortal danger and should be immediately transferred to a hospital for close observation, Ms. Shalabi was transferred to the civilian Meir Hospital last night. However, for unknown reasons, she was not admitted to the hospital the IPS transferred Ms. Shalabi back to the IPS medical center in Ramleh Prison Hospital later on the same night. Ms. Shalabi’s doctor was not informed of this transfer until today. Addameer, PHR-Israel and Al-Haq share fears regarding the adequacy and timeliness of the medical care available in Ramleh, especially given the growing concern about her rapidly deteriorating condition.
The Addameer/PHR-I statement reports that the Israel Prison Service is placing bureaucratic obstacles in the way of transferring al-Shalabi to hospital and subjecting her to further mistreatment which puts her at even further risk:
Ms. Shalabi reported to the PHR-Israel doctor that during her various transfers yesterday, she was handled violently, including being “dragged across the floor”. Her PHR-Israel doctor is particularly worried about Ms. Shalabi in light of this mistreatment, which undoubtedly is having an effect on her already-fragile state. Any further deterioration or aggravation of her condition, including emotionally, could cause a heart attack.
The statement also says that once again an Israeli military judge has failed to set a date for when he will decide on al-Shalabi’s appeal against her detention without charge or trial by Israeli occupation forces.
Original post: Hana al-Shalabi at risk of “imminent death”
Hana al-Shalabi is at risk of “imminent death” after more than a month on hunger strike against her violent, arbitrary detention by Israel has led to a serious deterioration in her health. She has been transferred from HaSharon prison to Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba.
Meanwhile, many more Palestinian prisoners are on hunger strike in solidarity with al-Shalabi including 72 year-old Ahmad Al-Hajj Ali, one of two dozen elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council being held by Israel without charge or trial.
Al-Shalabi, 29, was examined today by an independent doctor from Physicians for Human Rights - Israel (PHR-I), which issued a detailed statement on her medical condition.
The statement also alleges violations of medical ethics by the Israel Prison Service including consideration of force-feeding, and it “calls upon the local and the international community to act immediately and intervene for the release of Shalabi, and to act to end Israel’s use of administrative detention.”
However the statement says that “The Prison Service has announced that it has transported Shalabi to the Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba pursuant to the recommendation of the physician.”
Al-Shalabi spent two years in so-called “administrative detention” without charge or trial until she was released last October as part of a prisoner exchange negotiated by Israel and Hamas. However, on 16 February, al-Shalabi’s home in the West Bank village of Burqin was violently raided by Israeli occupation forces and she was re-arrested.
On 23 February Israeli occupation forces issued a new six-month administrative detention order. The military court has repeatedly delayed hearing an appeal against the order. Currently 309 people are held by Israel in administrative detention.
Risk of death
According to PHR-I, the deterioration in al-Shalabi’s health is “significant” and “she risks death.” The statement says that:
The deterioration is expressed in a process of muscle breakdown, with a weight loss of 14 kg (31 lb.) since the onset of the hunger strike, a very slow pulse, and a drop in blood sodium levels. These symptoms could indicate grave damage to the heart and the beginning of the breakdown of the heart muscle, which could lead to heart failure at any moment.
Al-Shalabi is suffering other severe conditions including low blood pressure, severe weakness and inability to move about on her own and serious pain throughout her body.
The statement expresses concern over “problematic conduct” by the Israel Prison Service, including pressuing al-Shalabi to end her hunger strike, providing her with misleading information and that “that medical teams are still considering the possibility of force-feeding her, despite the fact that international treaties prohibit this.”
At least 24 prisoners on hunger strike
At least 24 Palestinian prisoners are on various stages of hunger strike, according to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer which has been providing information via itsTwitter feed and Facebook page.
Kifah Hattab has been on hunger strike for 20 days and Bilal Diab and Thair Halahleh have been on hunger strike for 19 days, according to Addameer, while PLC member Ahmad Al-Hajj Ali declared his hunger strike on 14 March.
The hunger strikers also include Ahmad Saqer, currently the longest held administrative detainee.
Read more at Electronic Intifida.