Jailed Palestinian dying over 100 days into hunger strike

Jailed Palestinian dying over 100 days into hunger strike
Fecha de publicación: 
6 November 2020
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Ramallah, November 6 (RHC)-- A Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike for more than 100 days is close to dying, his wife said, adding he was also experiencing severe cramps and headaches.

Maher al-Akhras, 49, was arrested near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus in July and put in administrative detention, a policy that Israel uses to hold suspects without charge.

The father of six launched his hunger strike to protest the four-month detention order which ends on November 26 but could be extended.  “Every day, he dies 100 times in front of my eyes and I can do nothing,” his wife Taghrid al-Akhras told AFP news agency from Maher’s bedside in Kaplan hospital, near Tel Aviv on Friday.

Maher, who is suspected of links to the armed Palestinian group Islamic Jihad, was transferred from prison to the hospital in early September as his health deteriorated.  “What to do when we see those dearest to us dying in front of us,” said Taghrid, adding that her husband is feeble, consuming only water and has difficulty speaking.  “What danger can he present when he cannot even get out of bed?”

Late last month, as the International Committee of the Red Cross warned of “potentially irreversible health consequences,” Maher was moved back to the medical wing of nearby Ramla prison but the Israeli supreme court ordered him to be returned to Kaplan.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has demanded his immediate release, while Palestinians and Palestinian citizens of Israel have held demonstrations in his support.  Israel’s administrative detention policy, inherited from the British mandate of Palestine, allows the internment of prisoners without charge for renewable periods of up to six months each time.

Israel says the procedure allows authorities to hold suspects and prevent attacks while continuing to gather evidence, but critics and rights groups say the system is abused.  As of August this year, about 355 Palestinians, including two minors, were being held under administrative detention orders, according to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

Many Palestinian prisoners say they have been subject to torture and violence while in custody. There have been many protests against poor prison conditions in recent years, including several hunger strikes.


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