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Palestinian prisoner declares 4th hunger strike in Israeli prison

Nov. 30, 2016 11:20 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 30, 2016 8:59 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian prisoner Kifah Hattab, 53, entered the eighth day of a hunger strike on Wednesday in the latest of a series of hunger strikes launched by the prisoner who has demanded to be considered a prisoner of war in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention, according to a statement released by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs.

On Nov. 23, Hattab launched a hunger strike after being transferred to Israel’s Nafha prison a week earlier, as he refused to wear his prisoner uniform or stand in line for the daily prisoners’ count, according to the committee. He has continued to demand that Israeli authorities acknowledge him as a prisoner of war.

Hattab, from the city of Tulkarem in the occupied West Bank, is a captain pilot in the Palestinian Authority and has been held in Israeli prison since 2003, when he was sentenced to two life sentences for alleged involvement in an armed organization during the Second Intifada.

The committee added that this was not Hattab’s first hunger strike and that the prisoner had launched three strikes in the past in order to be acknowledged as a prisoner of war.

Earlier this year, Hattab launched a 50-day hunger strike, eventually ending his strike after meeting with a lawyer who had arranged for several of Hattab's demands to be met by the Israel Prison Service.

Meanwhile, Anas Shadid, 20, and Ahmad Abu Farah, 29, have been on hunger strike since Sept. 24 and 23 respectively, in protest of being placed under administrative detention -- an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence.

The committee stated on Saturday that both had slipped into a coma and have partially or completely lost their ability to breath, speak, drink, and hear. The committee also warned that Israeli authorities had threatened to force feed both hunger strikers.

An Israeli court temporarily suspended the prisoners’ detention orders on Nov. 18 due to the deteriorating health of the hunger strikers, according to Palestinian prisoner solidarity network Samidoun. However, the hunger strikers have continued to refuse food until they are completely released from detention and transferred to a Palestinian hospital.

Another Palestinian held in administrative detention, Ammar Ibrahim Hamour, declared an open hunger strike on Nov. 21. Israeli authorities have issued two six-month administrative detention orders against Hamour since he was initially detained by Israeli forces.

Meanwhile, Nour al-Din Amar, 30, has been on hunger strike for around 29 days after forgoing food at the beginning of November in protest of serving more than three years in solitary confinement.

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