Palestinian wins freedom after 64-day hunger strike

Ramallah/PNN/

A Palestinian man held by Israel without charges released from custody and transferred to a Palestinian hospital in the occupied West Bank after being on a hunger strike for 65 days.

The Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jails, Ghadanfar Abu Atwan, who has been on hunger strike for 65 days in protest of his detention without charge or trial, break his hunger strike after an Israeli court’s decision to end his current detention.

A lawyer for Abu Atwan had earlier said that his client’s condition had deteriorated in recent days and that he wanted to be transferred from Israel’s Kaplan Hospital.

Abu Atwan, a 28-year-old Palestinian, was arrested in October 2020 and placed under administrative detention for six months, an order that was renewed for an additional six months. In protest, Abu Atwan began an open-ended hunger strike on 5 May 2021 while being held in Ramon prison, whereupon he was transferred to solitary confinement for 14 days, and later subjected to physical assault, beatings, and injuries without any regard to his medical condition. Since then, his medical condition has rapidly deteriorated, requiring urgent medical intervention.

After 50 days on strike, Abu Atwan was transferred to Kaplan Medical Center, where he continues to be held as he falls in and out of consciousness, facing an imminent threat to life.

According to medical reports issued on 21 June, doctors confirmed that Abu Atwan’s current condition could lead to three serious possibilities: paralysis, a chronic health condition difficult to treat later, or sudden death. Still, on 4 July, he announced his strike from drinking water in response to the refusal of Israeli military courts to end his arbitrary administrative detention.

Despite the multiple appeals submitted by his lawyers against the administrative detention orders and their renewals, Israeli military courts rejected all appeals, including the most recent appeal hearing on 31 May.

Abu Atwan’s case, who previously served two years in administrative detention, is emblematic of Israel’s broader practice of systematic and arbitrary administrative detention, among which is the targeting of former Palestinian prisoners, who are routinely released, re-arrested, and placed in administrative detention for months on end, said PHROC in a statement.

The issuance and confirmation of administrative detention orders by the Occupying Power have drastically increased this year, and serve as a key feature of the Israeli repression against Palestinians engaging in their struggle towards their right to self-determination, it explained.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) yesterday submitted an urgent appeal to the United Nations (UN) Special Procedures on the imminent threat to the life of Abu Atwan.

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