Israeli high court rejects petition to free hunger-striking prisoner

Palestinians call for the release of political prisoners in front of the Red Cross offices in Gaza City on 3 August.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Israel’s high court on Tuesday denied a petition put forward by a lawyer representing hunger-striking Palestinian political prisoner Muhammad Allan calling for the man’s release.

Allan has been held by Israel since 6 November 2014 without charge or trial, a draconian practice known as “administrative detention” — indefinitely renewable military court orders based on “secret evidence” which is not revealed even to the prisoner or their attorney.

Allan, a laywer from Einbus village near the city of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, was supposed to appear before the high court Monday. But his hearing was delayed after the Israel Prison Service failed to provide an ambulance to transport him from a prison clinic, according to the Mohja Jerusalem Foundation, as reported by the Arabic-language Quds news site.

The association called the Israeli court’s decision a “death sentence” against the prisoner, who was on his 48th day of hunger strike today.

Allan’s health has deteriorated during his strike; he suffers from vision problems and is vomiting blood. He cannot stand continuously and has dropped in body weight, according to Mohja Jerusalem.

Multiple hunger strikes

Quds reported on Monday that six additional prisoners are on hunger strike, despite a bill passed by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, which would permit the force-feeding of hunger strikers.

Those prisoners include Khairy Daraghma and Abd al-Majid Khdeirat from the Tubas area of the West Bank. Daraghma began his strike on 27 July protesting a lengthy delay in surgery and Khdeirat embarked on his strike four days ago in protest of the extension of the administrative orders against him; his brother was also reported to be on solidarity strike.

The Jordanian national Abdallah Abu Jaber has been on strike since 19 July, demanding transfer to Jordan for the remainder of his 20-year sentence.

Mousa Sufan also began his strike on 19 July, in protest of his solitary confinement, and Abd al-Rahman Othman started refusing food nearly two weeks ago in protest of his isolation and denial of family visits.

Gravely ill prisoner

Meanwhile, Quds reported on Tuesday that Mohja Jerusalem obtained a letter from prisoner Mutasem Redad, who suffers from bowel cancer and multiple other illnesses, stating that Israel is denying him family visits.

Redad said in his letter that Israel withdrew permission to his mother and sisters when they were on their way to visit him at the Ramle prison clinic and told them that they were banned for security reasons.

The prisoner asked in his letter what danger he could pose to the occupier state, given his grave health condition.

Mohja Jerusalem urged the International Committee of the Red Cross to intervene in Redad’s case.

Redad, 31, is from the West Bank town of Tulkarm and has been imprisoned since 2006. He is serving a 20-year sentence for belonging to the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad movement and for involvement in resistance against the occupation, according to Quds.


Maureen Clare Murphy

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Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.