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Israel denies family of hospitalized hunger striker right to visit

May 30, 2014 6:34 A.M. (Updated: June 2, 2014 2:58 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli prison officials on Thursday rejected a request made by the family of a hunger striker to visit him in hospital, nearly a month after he stopped eating in protest against his detention without trial.

The Palestinian prisoners' rights association Addameer filed a request for the family of Abdulrazzaq Farraj, 51, to visit him at Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba inside Israel, where he has been held since he was recently hospitalized.

Israeli prison officials said they were denying Farraj visitation rights until June 5, without providing further details.

Farraj has been held in Israeli administrative detention for a total of around nine years, and his most recent arrest was on Feb. 25 when he was placed under administrative detention for six months.

More than 100 Palestinian administrative detainees launched a hunger strike in late April in protest against their continued detention without trial or charge, a practice Israel in 2012 promised to put an end to outside of exceptional cases as part of a deal to end a previous hunger strike.

Since then, more than 100 others have joined the strike, and thousands have taken part in day-long solidarity strikes.

Farraj joined the hunger strike on May 1, and now his family is worried that his health conditions may be deteriorating quickly.

His son, Bassel, said that they have been banned from visiting him in the past, adding that he has not seen his father for two years.

Farraj's wife, meanwhile, said she feared for his life, and that she wanted to check on his health after being on a hunger strike for 29 days.

The Addameer association said that banning visitation is part of a policy of punishment by Israeli prison administrators that attempts to force detainees to end their strike.

More than 5,200 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails, according to the PLO, and over 800,000 Palestinians have been detained since 1967, representing more than 20 percent of the total population and 40 percent of all males in the occupied territories.

Under international law, it is illegal to transfer prisoners outside of the occupied territory in which they are detained, and the families of Palestinian prisoners' face many obstacles in obtaining permits to see their imprisoned relatives.
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