Israel releases hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner

IPS frees Samer Issawi who fasted for 266 days while serving sentence for violating terms of patrol for prior arrest.

December 23, 2013 18:43
1 minute read.
Samer Essawi after being sentenced, February 21, 2013.

Samer Isssawi, hunger-striker 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/ The Jerusalem Post)

The Israel Prison Service released Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi on Monday, infamous for his prolonged hunger strike in protest of his incarceration for violating the terms of his patrol for a prior arrest.

As part of a deal reached with Israeli authorities in April, Issawi agreed to end his 266-day hunger strike and serve a further eight months, totaling a sentence of 17 months.

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Israeli security forces reportedly warned Issawi's family on Sunday against "causing problems" after raiding their house, according to Palestinian news agency Ma'an.

"I swear to God we will rejoice in the freedom of the hero Samer Issawi," Ma'an quoted the inmate's sister, Shireen, as saying on Facebook.

In April an Israeli official said Issawi's would be released on a suspended sentence and that for the next 14.5 years, if he violates the conditions of his release at any time, he will return to prison to serve out his original sentence.

Issawi was one of 1,027 prisoners released in the exchange for captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, after he served eight years of a 26-year sentence for a shooting attack.

He was re-arrested in August for violating the terms of his release by leaving the Jerusalem area and shortly thereafter began his hunger strike.

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