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Committee: Health of hunger-striking prisoners continues to deteriorate

April 22, 2019 4:54 P.M. (Updated: April 24, 2019 11:26 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The health condition of five Palestinian prisoners, held in administrative detention by Israeli authorities, are deteriorating and require effective procedures to save their lives, according to the Prisoners and Former Prisoners' Affairs Committee.

The committee confirmed in a statement, on Sunday, that Hussam Ruzzi, Muhammad Tabanja, Khaled Farraj, Hassan Eweiwi, and Odeh Haroub commenced an open hunger strike several days ago as a form of protest of their illegal detention by Israeli authorities, without charges or trial.

Deliberate medical negligence is a common punitive measure used against Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails. It is one of the commonly cited motivations for hunger strikers protesting the dismal and cruel conditions endured by detained Palestinians.

In 2016, the Palestinian Information Center said that an estimated 207 Palestinian prisoners had died in Israeli custody since 1967, 126 of whom as a result of medical negligence.

Rights groups have widely condemned Israel for a "deliberate policy of neglect" of Palestinian prisoners.

According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 5,450 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, of whom 497 are in administrative detention, and 48 female prisoners, and 205 minors, 32 of whom under 16 years old.

In addition, a report by Israeli NGO B'Tselem, which was based on the Israeli Prison Service statistics, read that over the last year, 29 Palestinians were taken into administrative detention every month, on average, and 37 were released.

The report added that in the past decade, the number of detainees held by Israel in a single month never fell below 150.

Rights groups say that Israel's administrative detention policy has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political processes, particularly targeting Palestinian activists, journalists, and politicians.

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