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2 Palestinian hunger-striking prisoners refuse water, boycott Israeli courts

Dec. 12, 2016 6:21 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 12, 2016 11:22 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian hunger-striking prisoners Anas Shadid and Ahmad Abu Farah have decided to stop drinking water and to boycott Israeli courts in response to the Israeli Supreme Court’s rejection of their release appeal earlier on Monday.

The prisoners’ lawyer Ahlam Hadad told Ma’an Monday evening that Shadid and Abu Farah, who have been on hunger strike for 81 and 80 days respectively, decided to refuse water, and to boycott all Israeli courts and personal visitations starting 6 p.m. Monday.

The drastic move came following a series of events Monday morning, in which the Israeli Supreme Court rejected Hadad’s appeal to release the two, while Israeli prosecutors instead called for the extension of their administrative detention orders.

According to Hadad, the court disregarded and “did not take seriously” the medical reports that showed Abu Farah’s and Shadid’s critical health conditions, indicating that they were facing permanent dysfunction of vital organs and the possibility of severe brain damage.

She also noted that Shadid has almost entirely lost his sight and ability to speak while Abu Farah has completely lost sight in his right eye and suffers from severe headache and chest pains.

Separately, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said that the court was expected to issue a decision on the two prisoners’ cases Monday, but that Israeli prosecutors had called for the Shadid and Abu Farha’s administrative detention orders to be extended.

Until Monday, Abu Farah and Shadid had gone without food and refused all forms of nutrition except water in protest of being placed under administrative detention -- an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence.

An Israeli court suspended the prisoners' detention orders on Nov. 18 due to the deteriorating health of the hunger strikers, but the two have expressed their commitment to continue with their hunger strikes until their administrative detentions are lifted completely.

Meanwhile, former hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayid was released from Israeli jail on Monday afternoon, after he went 71 days without food in protest of his administrative detention until August when Israeli authorities agreed to release him. Brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul were released from prison last week after they too undertook successful hunger strikes lasting more than 75 days.

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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