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PA 'rejected Shalabi deportation'

March 17, 2012 2:06 P.M. (Updated: March 19, 2012 3:50 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority minister of prisoners said Saturday that Israel offered to deport hunger-striker Hana Shalabi to the Gaza Strip, but the government rejected the offer.

Issa Qaraqe said that "We did not agree on such a proposal, neither do we legitimize deportation."

The minister did not specify when the offer was made by Israel.

Qaraqe added: "The Israelis should release Shalabi to her home, especially because she was illegally detained, and the court has no evidence to incriminate or detain her."

The detainee has become weak, unable to stand up or even sleep or talk, Qaraqe says. Shalabi is also suffering spells of dizziness after losing a lot of weight, he added.

He said in a statement that Shalabi entered her 32nd day of hunger strike Saturday, while the 29-year-old female prisoner has refused to take anything except water since she was detained from home on Feb. 16.

Shalabi, from the village of Burqin, is being held in "administrative detention," a category in the Israeli legal system which permits imprisoning suspects for six months at a time without charge. It can be extended.

President Mahmoud Abbas and his Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are exerting diplomatic efforts to save her, the minister said.

Meanwhile, prisoners are starting hunger strikes in solidarity.

Ahmad Saqir Abu Basir, the longest term prisoner held in administrative detention, and lawmaker Ahmad Hajj Ali have joined the strike which has been ongoing for 16 days, he said.

Qaraqe identified the other prisoners on strike as Thaer Halahila, Bilal Thiab, Tariq Qudan, Islam Salameh, Murad Malaysha, Ahmad Khallouf, Kifah Hattab and Osama Turkuman.
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