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Palestinian hunker striking prisoner Akhras says will continue to fight for freedom

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)
Palestinian women wearing protective masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic lift placards demanding the release of Maher al-Akhras, whose health has deteriorated while on hunger strike for nearly 100 days, during a demonstration in Gaza City on October 26, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Palestinian prisoner Maher al-Akhras, in his fourth month of hunger strike in Israeli custody, says he is not going to give up his battle for freedom, his deteriorating health condition notwithstanding.

“My health condition is dangerous but my morals are high. I will not break my strike under the Israeli regime’s threats … either my freedom or martyrdom,” Akhras told his family on Sunday evening.

His family were allowed to visit him for the first time. They had been on an open-ended hunger strike since Saturday in front of his room in Kaplan Hospital.

Akhras has thanked all those who have expressed solidarity with him from across the world.

“I derive my will from our Palestinian people, and from the families of prisoners and martyrs because we will take back our freedom from the regime and it will not break us. The standing of our people everywhere with me is the best proof of that.”

“At all stages, our people boosted my morale. Thanks to all because this issue is not only my case but rather the issue of every Palestinian who rejects humiliation, insult and occupation.”

The United Nations has recently called on Israel to put an end to the practice of administrative detention and immediately release Akhras.

In 1989, Akhras 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.

Israeli forces detained Akhras on July 27. He has been in hospital since September 6. Palestinians have warned that his death is imminent.

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.

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