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Israel releases former Palestinian hunger striker

November 26, 2020 at 3:56 pm

Palestinian prisoner Maher Al-Akhras, who is on hunger strike, receives medical treatment on 14 October 2020 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian prisoner Maher Al-Akhras, who spent 103 days on hunger strike in protest against his administrative detention, was released by Israeli authorities today.

Forty-nine-year-old Al-Akhras, from the West Bank city of Jenin, launched the hunger strike after he was detained under an Israeli policy which allows authorities to hold detainees for renewable terms of six months without charge or trial.

He ended his hunger strike on 6 November after 103 days, with the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society confirming that this was in response to Israeli authorities agreeing to release him on 26 November.

“The occupation authorities have released Maher al-Akhras, and preparations are underway to transfer him from the [Kaplan] Israeli Hospital to the [Najah National] Hospital in Nablus, in the northern West Bank,” Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the Prisoners Affairs Authority of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, told Anadolu Agency.

READ: 400 Palestinian children detained by Israel since start of 2020

There are still 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, however human rights groups have said it is used to hold even peaceful activists against the occupation.