When I was taken to the holding room in the court near the Russian compound (moskobia) to await trail I was shocked to recognize Samer Al Issawi through the bars of the holding cell in front. I asked the young man standing near the barred door to tell him that I know him and that many others all over the world know his face, his name and his cause and are working to raise awareness and to support him.
When Samer heard that I had been arrested in Bab Al Shams he came up to the door to speak to me in person. He was too weak to stand without support and needed to lean himself against the door, but when he spoke he spoke with strength and passion. He sends his regards to all those who took part in Bab al Shams and says that this action has been giving him strength and pride and strengthens his resolve to continue with his hunger strike until his release. “I hope this model will spread and many similar villages will be created around Palestine. I hope to see Bab Al Muhabeh (the door of love) Bab Al Huriya (the door of freedom) and Bab Al Salam (the door of peace).” Samer reiterated his resolve to continue his hunger strike until his release despite his deteriorating condition. “I will join you all on the outside soon,” he said smiling.
Samer Issawi is on the 174th day of an open-ended hunger strike in protest of his administrative detention by Israel. Samer was released in October 2011 after eleven years in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. Just after eight months on 7th July 2012, he was captured again under no solid ground. Since 1st August, he has only ingested water and salt. He is currently in a very critical condition due to an acute vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Also, he is suffering from a neurological problem which, combined with muscle weakness, has rendered him unable to control his limbs. Furthermore, he is getting vision problem and is a victim of extreme torture with bruises all over the body and blood vomiting. On 16th January he had court hearing in Jerusalem in which his appeal was denied. There will be another hearing on 5th February at Ofer military court to decide his case.