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Israel transfers hunger-striking Jordanian prisoner to hospital

Dec. 23, 2015 4:57 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 23, 2015 5:49 P.M.)
An elderly man looks at pictures of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails during a protest in East Jerusalem on April 15, 2010. (AFP/File)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli Prison Service transferred a Jordanian prisoner who has been on hunger strike for 45 days to a civilian hospital for treatment, the Palestinian Prisoners' Society said in a statement.

The PPS said a representative from the al-Ramla prison clinic in Israel told the society that Abdullah Abu Jaber had been transferred from the prison's clinic to a civilian hospital after his health severely deteriorated.

Abu Jaber, who is currently serving a 20 year sentence, has been on hunger strike in protest against his internment since July 18. The Jordanian national is demanding that he be deported or transferred to a Jordanian prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

Issa Qaraqe, the head of the PA Committee for Prisoner's Affairs, said Israeli authorities have threaten to force feed Abu Jaber if he does not willingly end his strike.

On July 30, the Israeli parliament approved a law allowing prisoners on hunger strike to be force fed, sparking criticism from rights groups and medical experts.

The law, which sought to prevent imprisoned prisoners from pressuring Israel by refusing food, was initially approved in June 2014 at the height of a mass hunger strike of Palestinian detainees, during which dozens were hospitalized.

The law, which passed by 46 votes to 40, "will be used only if a doctor determines that the continued hunger strike will create an immediate risk to the life of a prisoner or long-term damage to his health," David Amsalem of the ruling Likud party said at the time.

The Israeli Medical Association called the law "damaging and unnecessary," stressing in July that its doctors would "continue to act according to medical ethics, which prohibit doctors from participating in torturing prisoners."

It said force feeding was "tantamount to torture."

Physicians for Human Rights Israel said the "shameful" law revealed the "anti-democratic face" of the Israeli parliament, saying they would continue to oppose the law and its implementation, and "support anyone who will refuse to obey the law."

Spokeswomen for both organisations said they were considering filing petitions at the high court against the law, however it is unknown if such petitions have been filed.

The PPS also added that journalist prisoner, Muhammad al-Qiq, who has been on a hunger strike for 28 days, is being held in a solitary confinement by Israeli authorities against the standards of International Humanitarian Law.

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