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Lawyer: Jailed commander demands POW treatment

May 1, 2012 12:45 P.M. (Updated: May 2, 2012 8:04 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- An imprisoned commander is refusing food to demand he be treated as a prisoner of war, a lawyer for the Palestinian prisoners society said Tuesday.

A former major in the Palestinian security forces, Muhammad al-Taj has been on hunger strike for 48 days and his health is deteriorating, Jawad Bulus said after visiting him in Ramla prison hospital.

Al-Taj insists that as an occupying power, Israel must treat him as a prisoner of war, Bulus said. Israeli prisons are designed for criminals, and he refuses to be treated as a criminal, he added.

Israeli prison authorities offered to move him to Ofer prison, Israel's military jail inside the occupied West Bank, but he refused, the lawyer said.

Al-Taj, from Tubas, was sentenced to 15 years in jail by Israeli authorities.

A wave of hunger-strike by Palestinians jailed in Israel peaked two weeks ago, when over a thousand detainees joined long-term hunger-strikers on Palestinian Prisoners Day.

Prisoners groups estimate 2,000 detainees are now refusing food in a bid to improve their conditions.
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