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Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike to protest renewed administrative detention

Jan. 3, 2017 12:32 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 3, 2017 4:58 P.M.)
JENIN (Ma'an) -- Palestinian prisoner Muhammad Nasser Alaqma has been on hunger strike for eight days to protest the renewal of his administrative detention, Sawt al-Asraa (Voice of Prisoners) radio reported on Tuesday.

Alaqma, a 27-year-old father of two and a resident of village of Bartaa in the northern occupied West Bank district of Jenin, was initially detained by Israeli forces at a checkpoint in August, and later sentenced to four months in administrative detention -- internment without trial or charges.

Sawt al-Asraa reported that Alaqma had begun his hunger strike after Israeli authorities decided to renew his administrative detention for another four months in late December.

Alaqma had previously spent several months in custody under Israel’s policy of administrative detention in 2013.

Israel’s use of administrative detention -- which rights groups say is meant to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions in order to disrupt Palestinian political and social life -- has sparked a number of high-profile hunger strikes by Palestinian detainees in the past year.

In December, the 90-day hunger strikes launched by Ahmad Abu Farah and Anas Shadid left them both in critical conditions, with Israel agreeing to eventually release them at the eleventh hour.

The Israeli Supreme Court had also mulled force feeding the two -- a practice widely regarded as a form of torture under medical ethics accepted by both the international community and Israeli doctors.

Israeli authorities also waited until the last minute to agree to release other hunger strikers who were nearing death over the past year, as was the case with the Balboul brothers who went without food for 77 and 79 days, Malik al-Qadi for 68 days, Bilal Kayid for 71 days, and Muhammad al-Qiq for 94 days.

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