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Palestinian prisoner enters 40th day on hunger strike

April 13, 2016 8:01 P.M. (Updated: April 13, 2016 10:22 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian prisoner Sami al-Janazreh entered his 40th day on hunger strike to protest his internment without trial or charge, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs said Wednesday.

Mutaz Shqerat, a lawyer with the committee, told Ma'an the 43-year-old prisoner from al-Fawwar refugee camp near Hebron, continued to be held in solitary confinement and was suffering from pains across his body and could no longer walk.

He is only drinking water and has refused to take vitamins, Shqerat said, adding that al-Janazreh had pledged to continue his hunger strike until Israel agreed to release him.

Shqerat said the authorities in the Negev prison where Janazreh is being held had confiscated his personal belongings as a punishment for his hunger strike.

Al-Janazreh was detained by Israeli forces on Feb. 15 and sentenced to six months in administrative detention, which allows for internment without trial indefinitely. He had previously spent seven years in Israeli jails, all in administrative detention.

Israeli officials claim the practice is an essential tool in preventing attacks and protecting sensitive intelligence because it allows authorities to keep evidence secret, but it has been strongly criticized by the international community as well as activists.

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

Many Palestinians have gone on hunger strike to protest the practice, with journalist Muhammad al-Qiq coming close to death earlier this year after he went 94 days without food before Israel finally agreed to his release.

As of February this year, Israel was holding around 670 Palestinians in administrative detention, nearly a 10th of Israel's 7,000 Palestinian prisoners, according to Palestinian prisoners' rights group Addameer.
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