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Israel extends detention of Palestinian prisoner despite release deal

March 30, 2023 at 5:45 pm

A protest in solidarity with Khalil Awawdeh, a Palestinian prisoner who is on hunger strike [Mahmoud Nasser/ApaImages]

An Israeli court yesterday extended the detention of Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdeh for 16 months on the pretext that he attempted to smuggle a mobile phone, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society. Quds News tweeted that Awawdeh’s lawyer, Khaled Zabarqa, confirmed that in addition to the extension of his detention, he has also been fined 5000 Israeli shekels ($1400) and given an additional eight-month suspended sentence.

The extension of his detention has been carried out despite an agreement last year that he would be released on 2 October if he ended his hunger strike. The protest strike was ended on 31 August after 172 days. However, days before his scheduled release, he was accused of having a mobile phone that he used when he was moved from Assaf Harofeh Hospital to Al-Ramla Prison clinic, Wafa reported.

“We feel frustration and pain,” said Awawdeh’s wife Dalal at the time, following the allegation against her husband. “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.”

Awawdeh is from Beit Idna in the Hebron governorate in the south of the occupied West Bank. He has been detained since December 2021 and held under a succession of renewable administrative detention orders. Administrative detention allows the Israeli occupation forces to detain Palestinians on the basis of secret evidence that their lawyers are unable to see and hold them for renewal periods of up to six months without charge or trial.

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.”

READ: ‘Israel practices apartheid,’ say Israeli law professors