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20-year-old Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike at risk of 'sudden paralysis'

Nov. 12, 2016 7:38 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 13, 2016 2:45 P.M.)
Demonstration demanding release of hunger striker Anas Ibrahim Shadid (File)
BETHLEHEM -- A 20-year-old Palestinian hunger-striking prisoner suffered from memory loss and a high risk of “sudden paralysis,” as he entered his 49th day of strike on Saturday, according to the Palestinian Committee of Prisoner’s Affairs.

The committee released a statement detailing the severe medical condition of prisoner Anas Ibrahim Shadid, who was detained on Aug. 2 and sentenced to administrative detention -- Israel's widely condemned policy of internment without trial or charge based on undisclosed evidence --  at Israel’s Ofer prison.

Shadid recently lost the ability to walk, move, and talk “unless with great difficulty,” according to the statement.

“He is suffering from constant headaches and dizziness, weakness in his heart, asthma, vision difficulties, and severe pains in the eyes, chest, and stomach.”

Shadid, a resident of the southern occupied West Bank village of Dura, near Hebron, is currently being treated at the Assaf HaRofeh Hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The committee added that Shadid's critical condition forced the Israeli Supreme Court to schedule an emergency session to decide the fate of his prison term on Monday, Nov. 14.

The committee demanded that the court release Shadid immediately.

Last month, nine Palestinian prisoners, including Shadid, held in Israeli prison continued hunger strikes in protest of being held in administrative detention and solitary confinement.

Two prisoners protesting mistreatment of female Palestinian prisoners, Samer al-Issawi and Munther Snawbar, ended their hunger strike this month after reaching a deal with Israeli authorities.

Meanwhile, scores of Palestinian prisoners have launched hunger strikes in the past year to protest administrative detention. The most prominent hunger strikers included Muhammad al-Qiq, Bilal Kayid, and brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul.

Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention, which allows detention for three- to six-month renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence, 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.

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

According to Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons as of August, 700 of whom were being held in administrative detention.

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