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Palestinian hunger strikers Anas Shadid and Ahmad Abu Farah facing 'sudden death'

Nov. 30, 2016 8:57 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 1, 2016 1:37 P.M.)
(File)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The healths of imprisoned Palestinian hunger strikers Anas Shadid and Ahmad Abu Farah continued to worsen after more than two months without food, as the head of the Israeli medical center where they were treated warned of the risk of “sudden death.”

The head of the Assaf Harofeh medical center presented a report to the Israeli Supreme Court stating that Shadid and Abu Farah were being treated in the intensive care unit and faced the very real risk that serious damage could occur to their vital organs, which could lead to permanent disability or even sudden death.

Shadid, 20, and Abu Farah, 29, have been on hunger strike for 68 and 69 days respectively, in protest of being placed under administrative detention -- an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence.

The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs stated on Saturday that both had slipped into a coma and have partially or completely lost their ability to breath, speak, drink, and hear. The committee also warned that Israeli authorities had threatened to force feed both hunger strikers.

An Israeli court temporarily suspended the prisoners’ detention orders on Nov. 18 due to the deteriorating health of the hunger strikers, according to Palestinian prisoner solidarity network Samidoun. However, the hunger strikers have continued to refuse food until they are completely released from detention and transferred to a Palestinian hospital.

Scores of Palestinian prisoners have launched hunger strikes in the past year to protest various issues, most notably administrative detention. The most prominent hunger strikers included Muhammad al-Qiq, Bilal Kayid, and brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul.

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.

According to Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons as of October, 720 of whom were being held in administrative detention.
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