Palestinian prisoner ends hunger strike after 103 days: Rights group

Bethlehem/PNN/

A Palestinian human rights group says a Palestinian prisoner who had been on hunger strike for over three months since he was arrested by Israeli military forces has ended his strike following an agreement with Israeli authorities to release him late this month.

According to a Friday report by the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), the agreement provided for the release of Maher al-Akhras from jail on November 26 and the non-renewal of his current administrative detention order.

Under the agreement, the Palestinian man, who had been on hunger strike for 103 days, would spend the remaining period of his current term in hospital for medical treatment.

The 49-year-old Palestinian prisoner, a father of six, was detained on July 27 and held under a four-month administrative detention order, with no charge and based on alleged, secret evidence not available even to his lawyers. He went on a hunger strike to protest his arrest and condition.

The United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as well as many human rights groups, had expressed serious concern about Akhras’ health condition and called for his immediate release.

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are held under administrative detention, in which Israel keeps individuals for up to six months, a period that can be extended an infinite number of times. Women and minors are held that way as well.

Palestinian detainees resort to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to protest the detention. They hold Israeli authorities responsible for any deterioration of their health in jail.

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