Samer Issawi nearly died during a hunger strike that lasted more than eight months
He was kept alive through intravenous fluids
He agreed to end the protest, serve out the detention time for a parole violation
He had been set free in 2011 in an exchange deal for a captured Israeli soldier
Samer Issawi, a Palestinian who once refused solid food in a 266-day protest while in an Israeli prison, was released Monday.
Issawi originally had been set free in late 2011 after nine years in prison but ended up back in detention nine months later for what Israeli officials said was a parole violation. He was never charged, however.
To protest, he went on a solid-food fast from August 2012 to April 2013, being kept alive by intravenous fluids injections.
On the verge of death, he was offered a variety of deportation deals but he refused. And instead of serving out the rest of his original 30-year sentence, he agreed to stay in prison for the remaining eight months of his administrative detention period for the parole violation.
After his release Monday, he returned to his home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiyeh. He was greeted by hundreds of chanting Palestinians who ignored the warning of Israeli forces against celebrating. Many waved Palestinian flags.
Issawi had been arrested in 2002 during the second intifada and charged with attempted murder and weapons possession.
In October 2011, Israel freed more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners – including Issawi and hundreds serving life sentences for attacks on Israelis – in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held by Hamas for more than five years.