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Israeli court rejects hunger-strikers detention appeal

April 23, 2012 6:08 P.M. (Updated: April 30, 2012 6:05 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli military court on Monday refused an appeal by long-term hunger-strikers Thaer Halahla and Bilal Dyab to end their detention without charge, prisoners groups said.

Muhjat al-Quds society for the defense of prisoners said Ofer military court rejected the appeal against the prisoners administrative detention, on the 56th day of their hunger-strike.

Lawyer Jamil Khatib will now take their petitions to Israel's Supreme Court. The rulings show the negotiations to end the prisoners' hunger strike have failed, as they refused Israel's suggestion to deport them to Gaza, Addameer Director Sahar Francis told Ma'an.

Negotiations are more difficult now that over a thousand prisoners have joined the hunger strike, as Israeli authorities say they refuse to encourage others by agreeing not to renew the hunger-strikers' administrative detention, Khatib said.

Diab, from Jenin, has been held without charge since August. In February, Israel extended the 27-year-old's sentence for a further six months without a trial.

Halahla, from Hebron, was detained in July 2010. Israel has the 33-year-old's administrative detention order several times, most recently on March 5 for another six months.

A wave of hunger strikes has drawn attention to Israel's decades-long use of administrative detention, under which over 300 Palestinians are currently held without charge.

Israel says it refuses to disclose accusations or evidence to lawyers or detainees due to security concerns.

Administrative detainee Khader Adnan, 33, was on hunger-strike for 66 days before agreeing to a deal to secure his freedom. He was released last Tuesday, on Palestinian Prisoners Day.

Inspired by Adnan's protest, a female prisoner, Hana Shalabi, refused food for 43 days before the Israel decided to deport her to Gaza, barring her from returning to her native West Bank for at least three years.

On prisoners day last week, at least 1,200 prisoners in Israeli jails launched an open-ended hunger strike. Prison authorities have responded by denying them family visits and separating them from inmates not taking part in the protest.
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