Affidavit No. 7556/2012

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, Yousef Marwan ‘Abdallah al-Rikhawi, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 802050435, born in 1948, a grocer, and a resident of the Yabna area in Rafah refugee camp, Rafah governorate, would like to declare the following:

My uncle is Akram ‘Abdallah Muhammad al-Rikhawi, born on 11 May 1973. He married my mother after my father had died. He had eight children with her. He used to work as a construction contractor. In addition to his family, my uncle supported me and my four brothers. We lived with him in a house in the area of Yabna in Rafah refugee camp southwest of Rafah city.

On 7 June 2004, the Israeli occupying forces arrested my uncle Akram al-Rikhawi while he was in a taxi, travelling back from Gaza city to his house in Rafah city. Israeli occupying soldiers positioned at a checkpoint called Abu-Holi, stopped the taxi and arrested my uncle. Set up on Salah al-Din road connecting Khan Younes and Deir al-Balah cities, the checkpoint separated northern and southern areas of the Gaza Strip. We addressed the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which confirmed that my uncle had been detained. We appointed lawyer Fida’ Qa’war, a private lawyer from the 1948 territory, to follow up on his case. Later, we appointed lawyer Zahra’ Abu-Khaled, another lawyer from the 1948 territory. As soon as he was detained, my uncle was admitted to al-Ramla Prison clinic. Before he had been arrested, he suffered from a severe asthma. My uncle was subjected to rounds of interrogation about his affiliation with the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). On several occasions, he was brought to the Israeli court, which ultimately sentenced him to a term of nine years in prison on charges of affiliation with Hamas. Since he was arrested in 2004, my uncle has been held in al-Ramla Prison clinic due to his deteriorating health condition. My uncle’s lawyer, Zahra’ Abu-Khaled, told us that the Israeli Prisons Authority had replaced his medicine Kenacort with Cortisone, resulting in complications, including osteoporosis and a weak immune system.

In 2009, my uncle appeared before the court that examines prisoners’ cases after they serve two thirds of their sentences (“Court of Two Thirds”). According to a decision made by the Israeli Intelligence agency and al-Ramla Prison Administration, the court decided not to release my uncle because he posed a danger – in spite of his critical health condition – to the security of the Israeli occupying authority. Later, my uncle appealed the court decision and demanded that he be allowed to travel abroad to receive medical treatment during the remaining period of his sentence. At the time, it was announced that Zakariyya ‘Isa had died on 3 January 2012. Shortly after he had been released, ‘Isa’s health condition deteriorated. My uncle received a promise that he would be released. However, the Israeli Prisons Authority did not keep its promise. It rejected my uncle’s request that he be allowed to travel abroad to receive medical treatment.

On 12 April 2012, media outlets and my uncle’s lawyer Zahra’ Abu-Khaled reported that my uncle Akram had declared himself on hunger strike. In protest over the deliberate medical negligence exercised by the Israeli Prison Authority against him ever since he was detained, my uncle demanded that he be immediately released in view of his critical health condition. My uncle also demanded that the court, which examines prisoners’ cases after they serve one third of their sentences (“Court of One Third”), be convened again. In spite of his deteriorated health condition, my uncle refused to have medical tests or medication because he mistrusted physicians at the Prison clinic. Doctors increased the Cortisone doses, further worsening his health conditions. Later, a lawyer from the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (ADDAMEER) reported that she had visited my uncle at al-Ramla Prison clinic on 31 May 2012. She confirmed that he was still on hunger strike. Since the beginning of his hunger strike, my uncle lost 20 kilograms. His weight dropped from 68 to 48 kilograms. My uncle also suffered from serious complications in his health, including a swollen body, weaker immune system, and an optic atrophy. During the period of his detention, my uncle also had a surgical operation to remove white water in his left eye. In addition to problems in his kidneys, my uncle suffered from diabetes and high cholesterol levels. On 5 June 2012, the Court of Appeal convened to examine the decision entered by the “Court of One Third” (a court that examines prisoners’ cases after they serve one third of their sentences) and decided to postpone adjudication of my uncle’s case until it obtained approval of the Israeli Intelligence agency. As a result of the court’s decision, my uncle decided to refrain from drinking water and taking medication. He is still on hunger strike. His health condition is deteriorating day by day. I would like to note that we have not been able to visit my uncle since June 2006. After members of the Palestinian resistance detained the Israeli soldier Gil’ad Shalit, Israel has not allowed families from the Gaza Strip to visit their relatives in Israeli jails. Furthermore, the Israeli authorities do not allow us to contact my uncle by telephone.


This is my declaration, which I hereby sign, 7 June 2012 

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: Affidavit No. 7556/2012
  • Field researcher: Tariq Zaqout
  • Affidavit Date: 7 June 2012
  • Name: Yousef Marwan ‘Abdallah al-Rikhawi
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