Israeli citizen Ouda Tarabin, who has been serving time in an Egyptian prison for over 12 years on charges of spying for Israel, launched a hunger strike on Tuesday in protest of his imprisonment since the year 2000.
Tarabin, who at the time was sentenced to 15 years in jail, sent a two-page handwritten letter to Israeli ambassador in Cairo Yaakov Amitai in which he wrote: "I ask the honorable sir, by virtue of his being an ambassador of the State of Israel and the prime minister's representative in Egypt, to pass this information of my hunger strike to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi."
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Tarabin, a resident of the Bedouin city of Rahat in south Israel, was convicted by an Egyptian court of assisting to gather intelligence. But as opposed to the case of Azzam Azzam, his trial was held in absentia, without Tarabin's knowledge, while he resided in Israel.
In the past few years, there were quite a few attempts to complete a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Egypt in which Tarabin would be returned in exchange for dozens of Egyptian prisoners held in Israel, but no such deal has been made as of yet.
Tarabin explained in a letter that the sentencing was held "without giving me the legal opportunity or right that I am entitled to in accordance with the United Nations Human Rights Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to defend myself based on the accusation attributed to me, to appeal it and to hold a lawful and just trial."
In the letter, Tarabin accused Israel of "violating its legal and moral obligations regarding my rights and my freedom and in refraining from seriously acting to release me from prison when it knows full well that I am innocent of the accusation attributed to me."
In the letter, Tarabin blamed Egypt for violating its international obligations and the peace agreement with Israel according to which "Egypt will defend the rights and freedoms of Israel's citizens while they are present in Egyptian territory and even in a situation in which people are accused of crimes on Egyptian soil."
"I am the only one to pay the price of revenge and hatred towards Israel and its prime minister on the part of the Egyptian government and the person who heads it," wrote Tarabin, who asked that the prime minister appeal to the UN Security Council and submit a complaint against Egypt and also to file a claim with the International Court.
Tarabin also made it clear in his letter that "I will continue, if Allah so wishes, with my hunger strike until this issue will be resolved and I will be released from this discrimination."
Attorney Yitzhak Meltzer, who is representing Tarabin, said in response to his client's hunger strike that "Ouda Tarabin's family and I blame the Egyptian government for leading him to launch a hunger strike in an act of desperation in light of the Egyptian government's obtuseness." Speaking to Ynet, the attorney called upon Egypt to "reconsider before causing any damage to Ouda Tarabin's health as a result of the hunger strike.
"All Egypt must do is release Ouda Tarbin without delay in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations Human Rights Council's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in Geneva," added Attorney Meltzer.
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