Palestinian detainee ends 103-day hunger strike in exchange for freedom
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Palestinian detainee ends 103-day hunger strike in exchange for freedom

Akram Rikhawi, convicted of transporting suicide bombers, will be released five months early

Palestinian children in Ramallah light candles during a May rally in solidarity with prisoners who have been waging a hunger strike in Israeli jails (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash 90)
Palestinian children in Ramallah light candles during a May rally in solidarity with prisoners who have been waging a hunger strike in Israeli jails (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash 90)

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — An activist says a Palestinian prisoner on the longest-ever hunger strike has ended his protest after 103 days in exchange for a pledge of release by Israel five months early.

Sivan Weizman of the Israel Prison Authority confirmed that Akram Rikhawi ended his hunger strike Monday.

Rikhawi, 39, stopped eating on April 12, demanding to be released on medical grounds. He is said to be suffering from asthma and diabetes. He is serving a nine-year sentence for transporting suicide bombers. His official release date is next June.

Kadoura Fares, head of a Palestinian advocacy group for prisoners, says that in exchange for ending the strike, Rikhawi will be released in January.

This year, hundreds of Palestinians have staged hunger strikes to win release or better conditions. Fares says Rikhawi held out the longest.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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