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Israel delays agreed release of prisoner after 172-day hunger strike

Palestinians demonstrate in front of Ofer Prison in solidarity with 30 prisoners on hunger strike, near the city of Ramallah in West Bank on September 25, 2022 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinians demonstrate in front of Ofer Prison in solidarity with 30 prisoners on hunger strike, near the city of Ramallah in West Bank on September 25, 2022 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

An Israeli court delayed on Sunday the agreed release of Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdeh until today. Awawdeh, 40, from Idna in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, broke his hunger strike on 21 June after being promised by the Israeli authorities that his administrative detention would not be renewed.

A week later, he resumed his protest after the occupation authorities backtracked on their promise and decided to continue his detention. He broke his hunger strike again on 31 August when it was agreed that he would be released on 2 October.

However, the Israeli magistrates' court in Rishon LeZion, near Tel Aviv, ruled last Wednesday that he would be held until at least 9 October. Nevertheless, the authorities then agreed that he would be released today, 3 October, although the Palestinian Prisoners' Ministry in Gaza expected this to mean the resumption of Awawdeh's administrative detention.

READ: Israel extends detention of Palestinian hunger striker despite deal to release him

The extension was apparently because he was accused of trying to take the mobile phone that he had at Assaf Harofeh Hospital with him to Ramla Prison clinic when he was transferred there.

"We feel frustration and pain," said Awawdeh's wife Dalal. "This is an occupation and it is not new to us that they are trying to ruin the joy and Khalil's triumph after he seized his freedom from them."

Amnesty International has described Israel's use of administrative detention as a "cruel, unjust practice which helps maintain Israel's system of apartheid against Palestinians."

Palestinian hunger striker Khalil Awawdeh ends his 172-day hunger strike - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Palestinian hunger striker Khalil Awawdeh ends his 172-day hunger strike – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

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