Hunger striker moved to Israeli civilian hospital

Bassam Diab sits next to posters depicting his brother Palestinian prisoner Bilal Diab during an interview with Reuters at his home in Kafr R'ai near the West Bank town of Jenin.

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories - A Palestinian prisoner who on Wednesday marked his 64th day on hunger strike has been transferred from an Israeli prison infirmary to a civilian hospital, his lawyer told AFP.

Jamil Khatib said his 27-year-old client Bilal Diab had been transferred from the infirmary at Ramle prison near Tel Aviv to the nearby Assaf HaRofeh hospital on Tuesday lunchtime.

"Bilal is in a stable condition after being transferred to the gastroenterology department of Assaf HaRofeh hospital," he told AFP.

News of his transfer to a civilian hospital on Tuesday was confirmed by the Ramallah-based Prisoners' Club, with spokeswoman Amani Sarahna saying Jawad Boulos, the Club's legal adviser, would visit Diab later on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Khatib said he would visit his other client, Thaer Halahla, 34, who has also been on hunger strike for 64 days but is still being held in Ramle despite serious concerns about the state of his health.

Diab's transfer took place a day after a doctor from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel examined the pair and found that both were in danger of dying, warning they were not receiving adequate medical care at the Ramle infirmary.

PHR said Diab was in "immediate mortal danger" and suffering from stomach pains, with indications he could be suffering from internal bleeding.

It also said Halahla was in urgent need of a CAT scan.

Some 1,450 prisoners - just under a third of the entire Palestinian prison population of 4,700 - are currently on an open-ended hunger strike, according to the Israel Prisons Service (IPS).

Most have been refusing food for around two weeks, but eight of them are at an advanced stage of their hunger strike.

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