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Calls for UN, EU to pressure Israel to release hunger striking Palestinian prisoner

Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jail Maher Al-Akhras, who is in a hunger strike for 85 days, speaks to media, receiving medical treatment at hospital in Rehovot, Israel on October 14, 2020 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian prisoner Maher Al-Akhras, is on hunger strike on 14 October 2020 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

As Palestinian detainee Maher Al-Akhras marks 100 days on hunger strike, human rights groups have called on the EU and UN to pressure Israel to release him.

In a letter to the High Representative of the EU's Foreign Policy and the Secretary-General of the UN, the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR) said that time is running out, and the international community must pressure Israel to respond to his just demands and release him immediately.

Maher Al-Akhras, 49, is from Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank. He has been held since 27 July under an administrative detention order without charge nor trial. He launched the hunger strike is a protest against his continued detention.

After his health deteriorated, he was transferred from Ofer Prison to Kaplan Hospital in the Israeli city of Rehovot, where he has been drinking water but refusing solid food, explained his family.

READ: Hunger strikes highlight Israel's unjust detention of political prisoners

Physicians have already warned of damage to several organs of the Palestinian prisoner's body, such as his kidneys, liver and heart, adding that the inmate's senses of hearing and speech have also been affected.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned that the Palestinian inmate is entering a medically "critical phase".

Israel has so far rejected all calls to release Al-Akhras and insists that he must complete his current administrative detention.

In its letters, AOHR UK pointed out that Al-Akhras is practicing the rights guaranteed to him by international law.

There are around 5,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails, 350 of them under administrative detention. Israeli officials claim that detention without trial is sometimes necessary to protect the identities of undercover operatives.

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