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Palestinian hunger striker to be released next month

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Palestinian prisoner said to be near death from a hunger strike in an Israeli jail will be released early next month.

Samer Issawi, who has been on a hunger strike for more than 200 days, was sentenced Thursday in Jerusalem Magistrates Court to eight months in prison for violating the terms of his release under the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap in 2011. Issawi was charged with illegally entering the West Bank.

Since Issawi has served more than six months in the Ofer Prison near Ramallah under administrative detention, he will be eligible to leave prison on March 6.

Also Thursday, at least 1,000 Palestinians demonstrated near the West Bank prison in the latest rally in support of Issawi and three other inmates on long-term hunger strikes.

The protesters threw stones at Israeli security forces and burned tires after being stopped at the military checkpoint in the West Bank Palestinian town of Beitunia, according to reports. They were marching to the prison.

Police dispersed the crowd with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets.

Two Israeli journalists were injured by stones during the clashes. At least 29 Palestinian protesters also were injured by rubber-coated bullets, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news service.

Protests in support of the four long-term hunger strikers have been held throughout the West Bank since last week.

They are being held in administrative detention, under which a prisoner can be held without charges for up to four months. The administrative detention also can be renewed.

 

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