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Zubeidi renews hunger strike after release postponed

Sept. 17, 2012 3:14 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 19, 2012 4:32 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Former Fatah fighter Zakaria Zubeidi told a Palestinian court in Jericho on Monday that he would not eat, drink or speak until he is released, after his four-month detention without charge was again extended.

On Thursday, Zubeidi agreed to partially suspend his earlier strike by taking fluids, after he received assurances from a presidential delegation that he would be freed from Jericho civil jail in five days.

But at a court hearing on Monday the judge extended his imprisonment for a further 19 days, citing the need to give the prosecution more time, Zubeidi's lawyer Farid Hawash said.

Zubeidi was detained by PA forces on May 13 and his detention has been repeatedly renewed without charges being pressed.

He left the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which he led in Jenin during the second intifada, to co-found the Freedom Theater in Jenin refugee camp in 2006.

Witnesses said Zakaria warned the court "you will take a funeral from Jericho to Jenin in four days," noting that he was looking gaunt and had trouble speaking clearly. He has refused food since last Sunday.

After the judgment, supporters in the court started chanting "Shame, shame, is this Palestinian democracy, you are no better than the Israelis," they said.

Hawash told Ma'an he regards the court decision as illegal as Zubeidi has already been jailed without charge for longer than is permitted under Palestinian law.
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