Palestinian hunger strikers experiencing deteriorating health
Six Palestinian prisoners have entered dangerous stages of a hunger strike in protest at their indefinite detention without charge by Israel, a report says.
Various rights and legal groups say the prisoners are now hospitalized, with daily reports of serious health deterioration.
The most high-profile of them, Bilal Kayed, has been on hunger strike for 66 days. Kayed’s health has sharply deteriorated, with lawyers reporting that the 33-year-old is now unable to move or speak on his own.
Among the six hunger strikers are also Mahmoud and Mohammed Balboul, two brothers who are being held for no apparent reason, the Middle East Eye (MEE) news portal reported on Saturday.
Mahmoud has been on hunger strike for 48 days, while Mohammed has been on strike for 45 days.
Bilal’s mother, Raheeba Kayed, has been barred from visiting her son in the hospital. Lawyers have told her that Israeli authorities refuse to allow her son to be unhandcuffed from his hospital bed.
Sanaa Baboul, the mother of Mahmoud and Mohammed Balboul, has been told by their lawyers that both of her sons’ health has deteriorated, but she has also been barred from visiting them at the hospital.
In addition to the Balboul brothers and Bilal Kayed, Palestinian prisoners Malek al-Qadi and Ayyad al-Hremi have been on hunger strike for 35 days, while well-known Palestinian journalist Omar Nazzal has been refusing food for more than two weeks.
UK-based rights group Amnesty International has defended hunger strike as a “legitimate form of protest” that is Palestinian prisoners’ “only means of demanding their rights under international law.”
The group has also blasted Tel Aviv’s claims of having “secret evidence” against the detainees, saying the method “denies detainees the ability to effectively challenge their detention in court and the right to a fair hearing.”
The situation of the six hunger striking prisoners has triggered a series of protests, sit-ins, night vigils and “days of rage” throughout the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Last month, about 100 other Palestinian prisoners went on hunger strike in solidarity with the six men.
Of the 100, about 30 prisoners have continued their strikes, including imprisoned leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Ahmad Sadaat.
More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners, among them 350 children, are currently being held in some 17 Israeli jails.
On Thursday, Israeli police arrested a Palestinian man in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds days after releasing him from 14 years in prison.
Sufian Abdu was originally put in prison for what the regime called a plot to poison diners at an Israeli restaurant. The Jerusalem Post said Abdu had left prison only three days prior to his arrest.
Israeli public radio said he was detained again because of "the waving of Hamas flags and the voicing of calls to violence and incitement against Israel" at a party to welcome him home from prison.