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Israeli supreme court rejects appeal to release Palestinian hunger-striking prisoners

Dec. 12, 2016 12:39 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 12, 2016 6:21 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The Israeli Supreme Court has rejected an appeal filed by lawyer Ahlam Hadad, demanding the immediate release of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners Anas Shadid and Ahmad Abu Farah on the basis of their deteriorating health conditions, according to a Monday statement from the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs.
According to the committee, the court disregared the medical reports that showed Abu Farah’s and Shadid’s critical health conditions, indicating that they are facing permanent dysfunction of vital organs and the possibility of severe brain damage.

The committee also noted that Shadid has almost entirely lost his sight and ability to speak while Abu Farah has completely lost sight in his right eye and suffers from severe headache and chest pains.

Separately, Israeli prosecutors have called for the extension of Shadid and Abu Farah’s administrative detentions, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said on Monday, as the two vowed to continue forgoing food until their demands were met.

PPS Chairman Qaddura Fares said that the Israeli Supreme Court was expected to issue a decision on the two Palestinians’ cases on Monday.

In an interview with Mawtini radio station, Fares stressed that Abu Farah and Shadid’s healths were severely deteriorating, and that the two prisoners were going through "the worst conditions ever" and that they were "facing death."

Fares accused the Israeli court system of coordinating with Israeli authorities in not making serious effort to end Abu Farah and Shadid’s suffering.

Abu Farah and Shadid have gone without food for 81 and 80 days respectively, refusing all forms of nutrition except water in protest of being placed under administrative detention -- an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence.

An Israeli court suspended the prisoners' detention orders on Nov. 18 due to the deteriorating health of the hunger strikers.

Shadid and Abu Farah, both residents of the southern occupied West Bank village of Dura, have expressed their commitment to continue with their hunger strikes until their administrative detentions were lifted completely and they could be moved to a Palestinian hospital.

Fares added that a third hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner, Ammar Ibrahim Hamour, 28, has been under constant pressure from the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to end hunger strike, which he began on Nov. 21.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs head Issa Qaraqe said in a statement that Israeli authorities have “deliberately” attempted to kill Palestinian hunger strikers by allowing their health to deteriorate, while forcing them into “difficult circumstances.”

Qaraqe called Israel’s "slow killing of Palestinian hunger strikers” a “crime,” and urged the international community to intervene, adding that Israel’s treatment of Palestinian hunger strikers represented a “humanitarian crisis,” and that Israel was fully responsible for the conditions of Palestinians in Israeli prisons that have forced scores to go on hunger strike.

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 October, 720 of whom were being held in administrative detention.
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