Palestinian hunger strike to appeal to Israel’s top court

JERUSALEM (AP) — The lawyer for a Palestinian prisoner said Tuesday his client will appeal his case to Israel’s Supreme Court as he continues what his family says is a 165-day hunger strike against his detention.

Also Tuesday, an Israeli military court extended the sentence of a second Palestinian prisoner by six days.

The release of both men, hunger striker Khalil Awawdeh and Bassam al-Saadi, a West Bank Islamic Jihad leader, was one of the Islamic Jihad militant group’s demands for a ceasefire in last week’s heavy fighting. in the Gaza Strip.

Khalil Awawdeh protests being held without charge or trial in what Israel calls administrative detention. Ahlam Haddad, Awawdeh’s lawyer, said her client’s health is deteriorating and they asked for his release. An Israeli military court on Monday rejected an appeal.

“Justice was not done to that man,” Haddad said. “We are going to … the Jerusalem Supreme Court, to perhaps get the requested remedy, which is his release from administrative detention.”

Awawdeh, a 40-year-old father of four, is one of several Palestinian prisoners who have been on prolonged hunger strikes over the years to protest administrative detention. Israel says the policy helps keep dangerous militants off the streets and allows the government to detain suspects without releasing sensitive intelligence. Critics say the policy denies prisoners due process.

Israel says Awawdeh is a militant, a charge he has denied through his lawyer.

The Islamic Jihad militant group demanded his release as part of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that ended three days of heavy fighting in the Gaza Strip earlier this month, but did not identify him as its member. Israel arrested al-Saadi in the days before the Gaza outbreak.

Haddad said his client has not eaten during the strike, except for a 10-day period when he received vitamin injections, according to his family. Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service has not commented on his case.

Israel currently holds some 4,400 Palestinian prisoners, including militants who have carried out deadly attacks, as well as people arrested at protests or for throwing stones. Around 670 Palestinians are currently in administrative detention, a number that increased in March when Israel began conducting near-night arrest raids in the occupied West Bank following a series of deadly attacks on Israelis.

Israel says it provides due process and largely jails those who threaten its security, though a small number are held for minor offences.

Palestinians and human rights groups say the system is designed to override opposition to Israel’s 55-year military occupation of land that Palestinians want for a future state, which shows no signs of ending.


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