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800 Palestinian Prisoners in 24-Hour Solidarity Hunger Strike

Palestinian hunger striker Issawi, on hunger strike for over 200 days, denied bail, angering protesters

Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Protesters hold up signs depicting Issawi during a protests outside of Jerusalem's magistrates' court, February 19, 2013. (Reuters / Ronen Avulun)

800 Palestinian prisoners are taking part in a 24-hour hunger strike on Tuesday in solidarity with four fellow inmates who have been on hunger strike for months—including Samer Issawi, who has been on hunger strike for over 200 days and was told in court on Tuesday that he would have to stay in an Israeli prison for at least one more month without charge or trial.

The Palestinian hunger strike movement, which has been backed by widespread protests in the Palestinian territories, has brought international attention to the Israeli practice of "administrative detention" whereby Palestinian prisoners can be held indefinitely without due process.

Issawi, who is now refusing water and minerals in addition to food, appeared "gaunt and wheelchair-bound" in a last minute court hearing Tuesday as lawyers plead with the court to allow his release on bail.

However, the court once again refused to make any decisive ruling on his case and deferred releasing him for at least another month.

"This is the third time [Issawi] has appeared in court to try to get out on bail, the previous two times were rejected," Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reported from Jerusalem.

Along with Issawi, Tareq Qaadan, 40, Jafar Ezzedine, 41, and Ayman Sharawna, 36, have all been refusing food between two and seven months to protest the unfair practice.

Following mass protests on Monday, hundreds of Palestinians once again on Tuesday protested in solidarity with the prisoners, some at the International Committee of the Red Cross in Ramallah, some outside of Issawi's court hearing, and others at Israel's Ofer prison.

Palestinian medical sources told Al Jazeera that at least 10 Palestinians were wounded in the protests by rubber-coated steel bullets fired by Israeli soldiers.

Another protester was shot in the leg with live ammunition and ten are being treated for tear gas suffocation.

"The battle waged by me and by my heroic colleagues ... is everyone's battle, the battle of the Palestinian people against the occupation and its prisons," Issawi said in a message conveyed to the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners last week.

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