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Freedom or Death

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Freedom or Death


Hana Shalabi is willing to die for justice.

by Stephen Lendman

On March 22, Hana Shalabi's 36th hunger strike day began. After examining her, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) said she's in imminent danger of death.

Israel wants her to die. She requires immediate hospitalization. At PHR-I's request, she was sent to Meir Hospital on March 19 but not admitted. The same night, she was transferred back to Ramleh Prison Hospital. Healthcare there and in all Israeli prison facilities is an oxymoron. There's none worthy of the name.

Her doctor wasn't told she's back in prison until the next day. He and others deplore the appalling care she'll get in terms of quality, efficacy, and timeliness. Israel condemned Hana to death unless effective intervention prevents it.

A joint PHR-I, Addameer, Al Haq statement quoted Hana saying:

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"To all the free and loyal Palestinian people, I direct my words to you--while I and all my brothers and sisters in the occupier's prisons are on hunger strike, we call on you to continue your solidarity and for the issue of prisoners to be on the highest priority list....I call on  foreign states to continue action in applying pressure (on Israel) towards the release of all our courageous prisoners."

The joint statement "expressed grave concern" for her health. Without proper care, she risks imminent death because of significant physical deterioration.

PHR-I's chairman asked the Israel Prison Service (IPS) chief medical officer, Dini Orkin, why Hana's hospitalization was denied. She responded saying the IPS commissioner wants another medical opinion, despite the urgency given her health.

Especially troubling is what Hana told her doctor. During March 19 transfers, she was grossly mistreated, including being "dragged across the floor." Doing so aggravated her weak condition.

Hana's also being pressured to begin eating. Force-feeding is threatened despite clear medical ethics issues and international treaties prohibiting the practice. Attempts have also been made "to undermine her confidence and trust in her PHR-I doctor."

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She's been lied to, including spurious claims that he doesn't care about her. In fact, he's her best hope to survive. 

At the same time, a military court of appeals judge again postponed ruling on her case. No announced date was given.

"The judge requested a detailed medical report on Ms. Shalabi's health condition, which has been prepared by the PHR-Israel doctor and submitted to the court."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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