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Palestinians continue hunger strike over administrative detention

March 24, 2017 at 10:48 am

Palestinians protest to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli Jails, in Gaza city, on 1 March, 2017 [ Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Two Palestinian prisoners have continued their open hunger strike for the second consecutive week in protest at being held under administrative detention in Israel, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) reported yesterday.

Rafat Shalash, 34, from Beit Awwa village in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, has been on hunger strike for eight days in a row. He is protesting at his extended detention in an Israeli prison with neither charge nor trial. Shalash was detained on 17 January 2016 and his administrative detention order has been renewed three times, for an additional six months on each occasion.

For Mahmoud Saada, 41, from Huwwara near Nablus in the north of the occupied West Bank, this is his 11th day on hunger strike. According to the PPS, Saada has been held in the Jamala detention centre for the past 36 days, since 16 February, undergoing what it describes as “daily interrogation”. Again, there has been no charge laid against him, nor any trial.

Read: Al-Qeq suspends hunger strike, reaches agreement for his release

In a similar context, Akram Al-Fassisi has brought his five-day hunger strike to a close after the Israeli military prosecutors set a date for his administrative detention to end. He has been held since 19 September last year, only two months after his release from nearly two years in prison being held under previous administrative detention orders.

According to the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network (Samidoun), Al-Fassisi has been detained by Israel on a number of occasions. He went on hunger strike in 2013 and 2014 for 58 and 70 days respectively, demanding his release from administrative detention.

Administrative detention is a legal procedure employed during the British Mandate period and retained by the Israelis. It allows the authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period without charging them or bringing them to trial. The policy has been used to disrupt Palestinian political and social activities by targeting Palestinian politicians, activists and journalists and removing them indefinitely from the public arena.

According to prisoners’ rights groups, there are currently around 7,000 Palestinians detained in Israeli jails, 536 of whom are being held under indefinite administrative detention.