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Islamic Movement leader launches hunger strike in solitary confinement

Nov. 13, 2016 11:15 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 14, 2016 2:12 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel Sheikh Raed Salah launched an open-ended hunger strike on Sunday against his solitary confinement and mistreatment by Israeli prison authorities, according to his lawyer Muhammad Aghbariya.

Salah was detained in May and sentenced to nine months in prison for “inciting violence and terrorism,” and placed in isolation shortly after.

The Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights has appealed to end his solitary confinement, which was rejected by an Israeli court on Oct. 25 according to Palestinian prisoner solidarity network Samidoun.

Samidoun has also reported that Salah has been denied access to books given to him by visiting family members, and denied visits by prominent personalities, including Knesset member and leader of the Balad party Jamal Zahalka.

In October, Israeli forces raided and closed several institutions in northern Israel for allegedly being affiliated with the Islamic Movement, reportedly in response to an order issued last year by former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon that outlawed the northern branch of the movement and called for a ban on all of the movement’s activities.

The Islamic Movement's northern branch, led by Salah, has been a vocal critic of Israeli activity at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, the health of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Abu Farah seriously deteriorated on Sunday as he entered his 50th day without food, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs reported.

The committee said that 29-year-old Abu Fara suffers from shortness of breath, severe pains in his stomach and muscles, weakness of sight, and continuous vomiting. 

A decision on an appeal filed by the committee to end Abu Farah’s administrative detention is expected to be issued by the Israeli Supreme Court on Monday, when the court will also hold a session regarding the administrative detention of Palestinian hunger striker against Anas Ibrahim Shadid.

Shadid and Abu Farah, both from the village of Surif in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, were both detained on Aug. 1 and have been on hunger strike since Sep. 24 and Sep. 23, respectively.

The committee warned on Saturday that 20-year-old Shadid suffered from memory loss and a high risk of “sudden paralysis.”

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