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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

US prison to force-feed Palestinian inmate

Prison workers soon might force feed a former university professor who has been on a hunger strike for six weeks to protest his imprisonment for refusing to testify about Palestinian charities, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Sami al-Arian, a Palestinian who taught computer science at the University of South Florida, stopped eating Jan. 22 in objection to a judge's decision to hold him indefinitely because he refused to testify before a grand jury.

He has lost more than 40 pounds (18 kilograms) on his water-only diet and is so weak that he needs a wheelchair, said his wife, Nahla al-Arian.

"His health is really deteriorating," she said. "We are really worried that there will be permanent damage."

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