RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian prisoner held in Israeli custody has begun a hunger strike to denounce being held without trial or charges, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said on Sunday.
Rafaat Shalash, a 34-year-old resident of the village of Beit Awwa town in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron, reportedly started his hunger strike on March 16 in Ktziot prison, his lawyer said.
Shalash, a father of three children who has previously spent seven years in Israeli custody, was detained in January 2016 and was sentenced to administrative detention, a sentence which has since been renewed twice.
His current administrative detention sentence is set to end in April.
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 Addameer, as of January, 6,500 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons, 536 of whom were being held under administrative detention.
A number of Palestinian prisoners have staged hunger strikes denouncing their administrative detention since the beginning of the year, including Jamal Abu al-Leil
, Raed Mteir
, and Muhammad al-Qiq
, who ended his second prominent hunger strike earlier this month after 33 days without food.