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Israeli court rejects appeal of Palestinian hunger strikers

Press TV – May 7, 2012

Israel’s Supreme Court has turned down an appeal requesting the release of two Palestinian prisoners, who have been on hunger strike for more than two months.

According to their lawyer, judges on Monday ruled that their hunger strike was not a reason to release them from administrative detention despite their being in life-threatening condition.

Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla began refusing food on February 29 in protest to their administrative detention, a controversial practice used by Tel Aviv, which allows Israeli authorities to hold people, mostly Palestinians, without charge or trial indefinitely.

Diab has been in custody for nine months while Halahla has been detained since June 2010.

“I believe what the court is doing here is trying to break the will of both prisoners so they will back down in their hunger strike,” said their lawyer Jamil Khatib, adding that the two men, however, intend to “continue their strike to the end.”

“Israeli courts do not handle administrative detention in a positive way. It shows that the intelligence services have the final word,” he added.

The Israeli group Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has condemned the court’s decision, describing it as “a death sentence” for both men.

An estimated 1,600 to 2,000 Palestinian prisoners, who began an open-ended hunger strike on April 17 to protest against Israel’s administrative detention rules, the use of solitary confinement, maltreatment of sick detainees, and difficulty in securing family visits and strip searches that are imposed on visitors.

According to an April 1, 2012 report published by the non-governmental Palestinian prisoner support and human rights association, Addameer, at least 4,610 “political” Palestinian prisoners are held in Israeli jails.

Addameer figures show 322 of the Palestinian prisoners are administrative detainees.

May 7, 2012 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , ,

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