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Hunger striker wakes from coma, vows to continue protest

Aug. 18, 2015 4:16 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 19, 2015 11:09 A.M.)
A Palestinian woman holds a poster bearing a portrait of Mohammed Allan, a Palestinian detainee who had slipped into a coma after a nearly two-month hunger strike. (AFP/Hazem Bader/File)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian hunger striker Muhammad Allan on Tuesday woke from a coma after four days and immediately pledged to resume fasting if Israel did not resolve his case within 24 hours, Palestinian officials said.

The Palestinian Prisoner's Society said that Allan "declared in front of his doctors that if there is not any solution to his case within 24 hours he will ask for all treatment to stop and will stop drinking water."

The Palestinian Authority Committee for Prisoners' Affairs confirmed that Allan had communicated his intention to carry on his hunger strike, which is now in its 64th day.

The 31-year-old lawyer from southern Nablus has been receiving life-saving medical treatment, but threatened to have this brought to an end if Israel does not end his administrative detention and release him.

He confirmed that he was not willing to be deported abroad for four years, an offer the Israeli state made Monday during a Supreme Court hearing while listening to arguments on whether to release him.

"We are categorically refusing that proposal," Allan's lawyer, Jamil al-Khatib, said after the offer was made.

The court ultimately postponed a decision to another hearing on Wednesday, claiming that they wanted to study Allan's medical file.

Al-Khatib told AFP after visiting his client in hospital that Allan appeared determined to go all the way, although there was still hope the judiciary would find a solution.

At a hearing on Monday, one of the doctors treating Allan said that if he were to resume his hunger strike he was likely to go into a fatal decline.

Allan, who has been held in Israeli custody since November, went on hunger strike to protest his administrative detention, which allows people to be held without charge for six-month intervals that can be renewed indefinitely.

After he slipped into a coma, Israeli doctors used artificial breathing equipment, fluids and vitamins to keep him alive.

Allan's protest has raised questions over whether Israel will seek to invoke a law passed last month allowing prisoners to be force-fed when their lives are in danger.

Doctors and activists strongly oppose the law, including those who say the practice amounts to torture and robs Palestinians of a legitimate form of protest.

The law requires the authorities to seek a court order to allow for force feeding, which they have not done.

AFP contributed to this report.
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