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Palestinian prisoner enters 22nd day of hunger strike

March 18, 2017 3:47 P.M. (Updated: March 19, 2017 9:53 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian prisoner Muhammad Nasser Alaqma entered the 22nd day of hunger strike on Saturday that he launched in protest of his administrative detention -- Israel’s widely condemned policy of internment without charge or trial, according to the Ramallah-based radio station Sawt al-Asra (Voice of Prisoners).

The 27-year-old resident of the village of Bartaa in the northern occupied West Bank Jenin has been held in Israeli custody since Aug. 16, 2016, when he was detained at an Israeli military checkpoint on the way to his village.

His administrative detention order has been renewed three times, each time for four months, since his intial detention. The radio station noted that Alaqma is a husband and father of two.

While Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention, which allows detention for three- to six-month renewable intervals, is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed that 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 say that Israel's administrative detention policy has also been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political and social processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,500 Palestinians were detained by Israel as of January, 536 of whom were held in administrative detention.

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