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Palestinian prisoner’s organs failing as his hunger strike enters 84th consecutive day

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows Palestinian prisoner Maher al-Akhras as he is holding his wife’s hand in Israeli Kaplan hospital.

As Palestinian prisoner Maher al-Akhras enters the 84th consecutive day of his open-ended hunger strike against Israel’s so-called policy of administrative detention, his organs are failing and the inmate is on the verge of imminent death.

The 49-year-old Palestinian prisoner, who is currently in the Israeli Kaplan hospital, suffers from severe fatigue and stress, pain in the joints, abdomen and stomach, and ceaseless headache as well as weight loss and a balance disorder, the Palestinian Information Center reported on Sunday.

It described Akhras’ health condition as extremely dangerous, saying that he is unable to move and that he has lost a lot of fluids and salts amid warnings of his possible martyrdom.

Physicians have already warned of damage to several organs of the Palestinian prisoner’s body, such as the kidneys, liver, and heart, and thus his life is at risk of sudden death, the report further said, adding that the inmate’s senses of hearing and speaking have also been affected negatively.

Furthermore, Palestinian human rights organizations and political parties, for their parts, have warned that Akhras would lose his life at any moment as he has entered the stage of extreme danger.

Akhras, the father of six children, was detained on July 27 and was held under the administrative detention order, with no charge. This has led him to start a hunger strike in an attempt to seek justice against the unfair detention.

“I am committed to my decision and will eat food only in my home, and I will not break my will. I am now in Kaplan Hospital, I do not drink anything but water, and I will continue doing so until I return to my house,” he said.

According to the report, Akhras, who is originally from Silat al-Dhahr town in Jenin, was arrested several times in the past and spent months behind bars in Israeli prisons.

In 1989, he was arrested for the first time and his detention continued for seven months. Back in 2004, he was arrested for a second time and spent two years behind bars. In 2009, he was rearrested and remained in administrative detention for 16 months. In 2018, Akhras was arrested again and was held in custody for 11 months.

“Two weeks ago, my husband's health condition gravely deteriorated and the doctors warned of his death at any moment,” said Akhras’s wife, Taghreed, who desperately called on human rights institutions and the Palestinian factions to support her husband and secure his freedom.

The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights has already called on international rights groups to intervene immediately to “save the life of Akhras before it is too late.”

The Israeli advocacy group B’Tselem, for its part, has warned in a statement, “The responsibility for what happens next lies with those who can prevent his further deterioration and even death.”

The group, which is monitoring the case, added, “They can still stop this from happening.”

Despite the fact that there is no criminal offense that the Tel Aviv regime is holding Akhras for, the Israeli authorities refuse to release him, even as his health increasingly deteriorates on a daily basis.

The Israeli regime has so far rejected all calls to release Akhras.

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are held under administrative detention, in which Israel keeps the detainees for up to six months, a period which can be extended an infinite number of times. Women and minors are among these detainees.

Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to express their outrage at the detention. Palestinians hold Israeli authorities fully responsible for any deterioration of the circumstances in jails.

More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held in Israeli jails. 

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