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Palestinian prisoner suspends 1-week hunger strike after reaching deal with Israel

Oct. 2, 2016 3:52 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 2, 2016 9:41 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian prisoner suspended his hunger strike on Saturday after spending about a week without food, after Israeli authorities agreed not to renew his administrative detention.

Omar al-Hih, 22, who was detained on Sept.15, had started his hunger strike around ten days after being imprisoned, to protest being sentenced to six months in administrative detention -- internment without trial or charges.

According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, al-Hih’s mother said that he would appear in from of an Israeli court on Oct. 10, adding that he was currently being held in Ofer prison.

Al-Hih had reportedly previously spent six months in Israeli custody.

Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention, which allows detention for three- to six-month renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence, is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.

Rights groups have claimed that Israel's administrative detention policy has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political and social processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.

While prominent hunger strikers Malik al-Qadi and Mahmoud and Muhammad Balboul ended their hunger strikes in mid-September, a number of Palestinian prisoners have since started their own strikes to protest administrative detention and policies used by the Israel Prison Service (IPS), such as forcible prison transfers.

IPS authorities have regularly used raids, confiscation of personal belongings, and forcible prison transfers to pressure Palestinian prisoners, most notably this summer when a large-scale solidarity movement formed in support of a number of hunger-striking prisoners denouncing being held in administrative detention.

According to prisoners rights group Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were imprisoned by Israel as of August, 458 of whom were serving life sentences, and 700 of whom were in administrative detention.

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