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Israel renews administrative detention of Hamas official yet again

Image of Adnan Asfour, member of Hamas. with his family at their home in the West Bank city of Nablus before being arrested again by in Israeli forces on 16 July 2012 [Nedal Eshtayah/Apaimages]
Adnan Asfour, member of Hamas. with his family at their home in the West Bank city of Nablus on 16 July 2012 [Nedal Eshtayah/Apaimages]

The Israeli occupation authorities renewed the administrative detention of a Hamas leader from Nablus on Monday, Quds Press has reported. This is the third consecutive time that Adnan Asfour has been kept behind bars by the Israelis with neither charge nor trial.

Asfour's family told Quds Press that the occupation authorities let his lawyer know of the decision to renew the administrative detention order for another four months. He had been scheduled to be released on 3 March before the renewal decision was announced.

The Israelis arrested the Hamas leader in April 2016 during a wide-ranging campaign of arrests that included a number of Palestinian academics and leading figures. This is not the first time that Asfour has been detained by Israel, his family noted.

Read: Palestinians call for boycott of Israeli courts

Israel's Supreme Court rejected a petition recently filed by Asfour's lawyer to end his administrative detention, his family added. They pointed out that the Ofer military court will hold a hearing in the coming days to rule on the decision to renew the administrative detention order, adding that the Israel Prison Service recently transferred him from Ktzi'ot Prison in the Negev Desert to Megiddo Prison in northern Israel.

His family have expressed concern over Asfour's health; he suffers from several problems including paranasal sinuses, migraine and asthma. They added that he needs special care that is not available inside Israel's prisons.

The detained Hamas leader is regarded as a national and Islamic figure in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus. He has spent more than 11 years in various Israeli jails. He was also detained for several years by the Palestinian Authority before the second Palestinian Intifada, which erupted in 2000.

Israel has increased the use of administrative detention orders, which are another form of collective punishment exercised by the authorities against Palestinians in an attempt to suppress their legitimate resistance against the military occupation.

Read: Israel arrests, detains man hours after PA releases him

There are currently three administrative detainees on hunger strike in protest at their detention. Mohamed Al-Qeeq, from Hebron, has been on hunger strike for more than 22 days, while Jamal Abu Al-Lail, from Qalandiya Refugee Camp, has been without food for more than 12 days following Israel's decision to renew his detention for another six months.

Human rights organisations put the number of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons at 7,000, including 52 women and 300 children. There are 11 girls amongst the women being held. Israel is also holding at least 21 Palestinian journalists.

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