Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ayman Sharawna arrives in Gaza Strip

Ayman Sharawna arrives in Gaza Strip | Maan News Agency
Published today (updated) 17/03/2013 22:32
People carry freed prisoner Ayman Sharawna on a stretcher as he
gestures upon his arrival to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, March 17.
(Reuters/Mohammed Salem)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Ayman Sharawna arrived in the Gaza Strip on Sunday evening after signing a deportation deal to end an 8-month long hunger strike in Israeli jail.

Sharawna arrived at the Erez crossing, where a Palestinian ambulance was waiting to take him into Gaza. Hundreds of people crowded at the Palestinian side of the checkpoint to greet him.

Sharawna signed an agreement with Israeli authorities to be deported to Gaza for 10 years, bringing an end to a hunger strike he launched on July 1, said Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society.

The undersecretary of the PA Ministry of Detainee Affairs, Ziad Abu Ein, told Ma'an the agreement was signed without notifying the ministry. He said Israeli authorities were pressuring Samer Issawi, who has been on hunger strike for 228 days, to make a similar deal.

Earlier Sunday, the Minister of Detainee Affairs Issa Qaraqe said the Palestinian Authority rejected the deportation of prisoners as political blackmail.

Sharawna, 36, is from the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and is married with nine children.

He was released in the Oct. 2011 prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas but was rearrested in Jan. 2012 and accused of violating the terms of his release.

Israeli authorities refused to reveal how Sharawna violated his release terms, even to his lawyers, and he was jailed without charge or trial.

Israeli prosecutors sought to cancel Sharawna's amnesty and jail him for 28 years, the remainder of his previous sentence. He went on hunger strike to demand his release.