Nearly 50 Palestinian prisoners have been on hunger strike for days at detention facilities in the occupied territories in a protest action against the Israeli regime’s practice of administrative detention.
According to a Palestinian Authority statement released on Saturday, “Forty-eight prisoners are on unlimited hunger strike in solidarity with Bilal Kayed and the two brothers Mohammed and Mahmud Balbul.” The statement, however, did not specify for how long these detainees had refused to eat.
The 35-year-old Kayed, a member of the banned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was arrested in 2002 and spent 14 and a half years in Israeli jails. On the day he was scheduled to be released on June 13, Tel Aviv decided to expand his imprisonment term for another six months under the administrative detention policy, which allows detainees to be held without trial for renewable six-month periods.
In protest against the administrative detention, Kayed went on hunger strike when he was forced to spend yet another six months in jail. During the past 40 days, his overall health condition has deteriorated and he is currently being treated at Israel’s Barzilai Medical Center in the city of Ashkelon.
Kayed was repeatedly denied family visits, and was subject to solitary confinement. He has gone on multiple hunger strikes, the most recent was in February, when he protested against his isolation in Ashkelon prison.
Balbul brothers, who have been in Israel’s Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank since June 9, have also been on hunger strike for the last 20 days, joining Kayed.
Muhammad, a dentist, was given a six-month administrative detention, while Mahmud, a Master’s student at the al-Quds University, has to spent five months in prison.
In another statement, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said hunger strikes continue to put pressure on the Israeli regime to comply with the demands of striking detainees and to put an end to the regime’s policy of administrative detention, which is in violation of international law and humanitarian conventions.
There are reportedly more than 7,500 Palestinians held at Israeli jails. Seven hundred of these inmates have apparently been incarcerated under the practice of the administrative detention. Some Palestinian prisoners have been held under the administrative detention for up to eleven years.
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