Hunger strike by detainee with untreated brain tumor enters second week

A Palestinian man being held in an Israeli prison has entered the second week of hunger strike after Israeli authorities refused to allow him to receive treatment for a recently-diagnosed brain tumor.

Akram Mansour (image from occupiedpalestine blog)
Akram Mansour (image from occupiedpalestine blog)

According to the Palestinian Minister of Detainees, Issa Qaraqie, the Israeli military has thus far refused a request by the Ministry to hold a court hearing for the release of Akram Mansour, 55, who has been on hunger strike for one week.

Mansour submitted a letter through his lawyer to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and human rights groups on Thursday, saying that he would continue his hunger strike until he is allowed to receive proper medical care.

Mansour has been held in an Israeli prison facility since 1979 for allegedly supporting an attack on an Israeli civilian bus that began as a hostage situation but ended with the deaths of Israeli civilians. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison for conspiracy charges.

According to the Middle East Monitor, Akram Mansour was born in the city of Qalqilya in 1962, one of a family of fifteen. He was educated in UNRWA schools but had to leave early due to hard living conditions; after which he worked with his father on construction sites, and joined the Palestinian resistance movement at an early age.

A court hearing scheduled for January has been postponed several times by Israeli authorities, after which Mansour’s health significantly deteriorated. In March he was rushed to Soroka hospital in Beersheva, south of Israel, where his brain tumor was diagnosed.

Since that time, Mansour has been requesting medical treatment for the tumor, which causes frequent fainting spells. Israeli authorities have denied his requests for medical care, and have denied requests by Mansour’s family for his early released – he has served 33 years of his 35 year sentence.

Other prisoners have also offered to join the hunger strike if Mansour is not provided with medical treatment. They have also challenged Israeli authorities treatment of sick prisoners in general, saying that they are frequently denied medical care, and their conditions are allowed to deteriorate due to the bad conditions in the Israeli detention facilities.

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 12.06.2011)

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