Israel rejects Palestinian hunger striker’s appeal for release

Israel’s military court rejected an appeal for the release of Khalil Awadeh, whose health has deteriorated as he continues his 165-day hunger strike.

An Israeli military court has rejected an appeal for the release of a Palestinian prisoner whose health continues to deteriorate as he continues his 165-day hunger strike without charge or trial.

Khalil Awwadeh is one of many Palestinian detainees who have gone on a long hunger strike over the years to protest so-called administrative detention.

Israeli forces arrested the 40-year-old father of four in December on charges of being a member of an armed group – a charge Avwadeh’s lawyer, Ahlam Haddad, denied by her client.

Awwadeh’s lawyer, Haddad, confirmed on Monday that the military court rejected his appeal for release. According to his family, he did not eat during the strike except for a 10-day period when he received vitamin injections.

Physicians for Human Rights Israel’s Dr. Lina Kasem-Hassan visited the hospital where he was shifted after his condition worsened on Thursday. She said he weighed 42 kg (about 90 pounds), handcuffed to a bed and surrounded by guards.

“He has severe neurological symptoms and cognitive impairment, which may be irreversible,” the rights group said in a statement. “His life is in immediate danger.”

Israel currently holds approximately 4,450 Palestinian prisoners. About 670 Palestinians are currently being held in administrative detention, a number that rose in March as Israel launched round-the-clock arrest raids in the occupied West Bank.

Of the thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, 175 are children and 27 are women, according to the latest figures published by prisoners’ rights group Adamir.

Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service has not commented on his case.

Administrative detainees are arrested on “secret evidence,” are unaware of the charges against them, and are not allowed to defend themselves in court. They are usually held for renewable six-month periods that often extend to several years in detention.

While Israel says the process allows authorities to detain suspects while gathering evidence, critics and rights groups say the system is widely abused and denied due process.

Palestinian fighters of Islamic Jihad demanded Awwadeh’s release earlier this month as part of an Egyptian-Malani-brokered ceasefire that ended three days of attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip by Israeli forces. The group did not recognize him as a member.

Israeli strikes kill 49 people in Gaza, including 17 children.

Some of the most egregious prison policies Palestinians are subjected to include medical neglect.

Many Palestinians view all detainees as political prisoners due to Israel’s military occupation and their resistance.

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