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Palestinian prisoner suspends 59-day hunger strike after release date set

May 31, 2016 8:56 P.M. (Updated: June 1, 2016 12:00 P.M.)
Palestinian prisoners walk in the yard of the Israeli Megiddo prison on Nov. 6, 2005. (AFP/Menahem Kahana, File)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian prisoner Adib Muhammad Jamal Mafarjeh had suspended his 59-day hunger strike after an Israeli court set a release date for the end of this year, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said in a statement on Tuesday.

Mafarjeh, 28, a resident of the central occupied West Bank village of Beit Liqya, suspended his hunger strike after an Israeli court ruled that he would be released on December 20.

Mafarjeh had begun his hunger strike almost two months ago to protest his administrative detention -- internment without trial or charges -- since December 2014.

Mafarjeh’s detention was extended three times without charges being pressed against him.

He is currently held at the Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, and has lost 30 kilograms since the beginning of his hunger strike.

In early April, the Palestine Prisoners’ Center for Studies reported that Israeli prisons services had moved Mafarjeh into solitary confinement to pressure him to end his hunger strike.

The organization said at the time that solitary confinement was regularly used by Israel against hunger-striking prisoners as a way to pressure them into ending their strike.

A number of Palestinian prisoners have staged hunger strikes in past months to protest their administrative detention.

Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq earlier this year came close to death during a more than 90-day strike against his detention, during which Israeli medics were accused of forcing treatment on the prisoner.

Administrative detention allows for internment without trial for six-month intervals that can be renewed indefinitely.

Israeli officials claim it is an essential tool in preventing attacks and protecting sensitive intelligence because it allows authorities to keep evidence secret, but the practice 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.

According to prisoners' rights group Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons as of April, 750 of whom were in administrative detention.
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