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Lawyer appealing decision to keep hunger-striker Bilal Kayid handcuffed to hospital bed

Aug. 17, 2016 10:31 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 18, 2016 12:14 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma’an) -- A lawyer for Bilal Kayid presented an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court on Wednesday regarding the conditions in which the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner has been held while hospitalized.

Lawyer Tamir Blank appealed an earlier Israeli court decision which rejected a request that Kayid, who has been on hunger strike for some 65 days, no longer be handcuffed to a hospital bed and be allowed to have an outside doctor check on his health.

Blank, along with NGO Physicians for Human Rights, condemned the Beersheba court’s “inhumane” decision.

The Israel Prison Service (IPS) had previously justified the decision to keep Kayid handcuffed to his bed in order to “prevent an attempt to free him.”

Blank called the excuse “invalid,” noting that four Israeli guards were in Kayid’s room at all times.

The lawyer said that such procedures affected Kayid both physically and psychologically on the long term, adding that if the Israeli Supreme Court rejected this appeal, it would have broader consequences on other Palestinian prisoners in similar situations.

After being sentenced to six months of administrative detention -- an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial -- on the day he was expected to be released from a 14-year prison sentence, Kayid declared an open hunger strike in June.

His health has severely suffered over previous weeks, with the Palestinian Ministry of Health warning earlier this month that his health was worsening, as doctors warned of "sudden death."

Kayid is one of the most high-profile hunger strikers since Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq came near death during a 94-day hunger strike before he was finally released in May.

Other Palestinian prisoners also joined the strike in protest of being placed in administrative detention: Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul have been on hunger strike for almost 40 days, prominent Palestinian journalist Omar Nazzal declared his strike on August 4, while Ayyad al-Hreimi and Malik al-Qadi have also been on hunger strike in protest of being held without charge or trial.

Israel’s policy of administrative detention, almost exclusively used against Palestinians, has been widely criticized by rights group which have accused Israel of using the policy to erode Palestinian political and social life by detaining scores of Palestinians without proof of wrongdoing.

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