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Lawyer: Palestinian detainee Muhammad Allan restarts hunger strike

Sept. 16, 2015 7:39 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 25, 2015 6:44 P.M.)
Maazouze, the mother of Muhammed Allan, holds a portrait of her son during a rally calling for his release in the southern Israeli city of Beersheva on Aug. 9, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Palestinian detainee Muhammed Allan restarted a hunger strike Wednesday after Israel arrested him and reinstated his internment without trial, his lawyer said, with a previous such protest having lasted two months and brought him near death.

"He is currently on hunger strike," lawyer Jamil al-Khatib told AFP.

Israeli police said earlier that Allan was arrested Wednesday morning at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon where he was being held.

The head of the Palestinian Prisoner's Society,Qadura Fares, said that Israeli authorities had reinstated Allan's administrative detention -- imprisonment without trial or charge -- against which the prisoner undertook a 66-day hunger strike to protest.

He said that the Israeli authorities intended for Allan to see out the 6-month administrative detention order he was sentenced to in May, which will last until Nov. 4.

However, he added: "It doesn't mean he will be released then."

Allan's administrative detention was initially ordered by Israeli officials who claimed that he constituted a threat to security and was an activist in the Islamic Jihad group, according to prisoners' rights group Addameer.

Islamic Jihad -- along with the majority of Palestinian political organizations -- is illegal according to Israeli military law.

Rights group Amnesty International warned at the time of Allan's release that Israel's suspension of his administrative detention was based on his medical condition alone and "took no account of the legality of his detention," raising fears that Allan could be re-sentenced if his health improved.

Administrative detention, which can be renewed indefinitely in six-month periods, has been strongly criticized by the international community as well as both Israeli and Palestinian rights activists.

Israel says it is an essential tool in preventing attacks and protecting sensitive intelligence because it allows authorities to keep evidence secret.

Rights groups say that international law allows for such detention only under extreme circumstances, but that Israel uses it as a punitive measure on a routine basis to circumvent the justice system or as a crutch to avoid trial.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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