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Palestinian prisoner enters 9th day on hunger strike

June 23, 2016 5:07 P.M. (Updated: June 24, 2016 10:24 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma-an) -- The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement that signs of exhaustion and fatigue were showing on hunger-striking prisoner Bilal Kayid on Thursday, as he marked his ninth day without food.

Kayid was issued an administrative detention order -- an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial used almost exclusively against Palestinians -- for six months on June 13, the day that he was set to be released after finishing a 14-year sentence. Kayid declared an open hunger strike following the court’s decision.

PPS added that Kayid, who has only been consuming water, has not been able to sleep and was suffering from kidney pain.

The organization said that Kayid was being held in a solitary confinement in the Ramon prison, which has been raided and searched on a daily basis since he began his strike.

All of Kayid’s personal belongings were reportedly confiscated by Israeli officers, along with the personal belongings and electronic devices of many prisoners affiliated with the Palestinian faction Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

PFLP-affiliated prisoners announced a two-day hunger strike on Sunday in solidarity with Kayid.

The prisoners warned prison officials at the time that unless Kayid was immediately released, a hunger strike would be launched by PFLP prisoners across all of Israel’s prisons.

PPS said on Thursday that 27 PFLP-affiliated prisoners held in the Megiddo jail continued their open hunger strike for the fourth day in solidarity with Kayid.

The rights group also confirmed that the Israeli prisons services moved 60 PFLP prisoners from Megiddo to other prisons in order to separate them.

Kayid, who has been held in a solitary confinement since last year, told a PPS lawyer that he would continue his strike until he was released.

Kayid was originally detained in 2001 for alleged involvement in the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades -- the armed wing of the PFLP.

Rights groups have claimed that Israel's administrative detention policy has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.

Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.

Israel considers the majority of Palestinian political parties to be “terrorist organizations." As a result, most Palestinians who participate in the political arena in the occupied Palestinian territory risk being imprisoned by Israeli authorities.

According to the prisoner’s rights group Addameer, there are currently 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, 715 of whom are held under administrative detention.

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