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Israel suspends detention of Malik al-Qadi, prisoner vows to continue his hunger strike

Sept. 9, 2016 7:03 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 10, 2016 4:03 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Just two days following an Israeli Supreme Court decision to temporarily suspend the detention of the hunger-striking Balboul brothers, an Israeli court Friday suspended the administrative detention -- internment without charge or trial -- of Malik al-Qadi, who has been on hunger strike for 55 days in protest of his detention, until the 25-year-old receives a medical examination on his health condition.

Lawyer Tariq Barghouth told Ma’an that al-Qadi had been losing consciousness and is now entering a coma, while his lawyers have been prevented from entering the Intensive Care Unit of the Wolfson Medical Center where al-Qadi is being treated.

Al-Qadi was transferred to the hospital about a week ago after his health severely deteriorated.

His mother confirmed to Ma’an that al-Qadi would continue his hunger strike despite the suspension of his detention.

She added that the Israeli court had decided to treat him if he entered a coma, while al-Qadi had announced his refusal to be treated during his strike regardless of his health condition.

The bereaved mother pleaded for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and rights organizations to intervene and help save her son’s life.

Al-Qadi was enrolled as a journalism and media student at al-Quds University before he was detained.

He had also recently served time in Israeli prison, and was only out for 47 days before he was detained under administrative detention.

PPS noted that there are currently three prisoners on open hunger strike protesting their administrative detentions, including al-Qadi, and brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul.

The Israeli Supreme Court Wednesday also ordered a temporary suspension of the Balboul brothers’ administrative detention until their health conditions improve, while the lawyer for the imprisoned brothers steadfastly rejected the order.

The decision came in response to an appeal submitted by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoner's Affairs on behalf of the hunger strikers which was heard on Wednesday in the Supreme Court.

The order stated that the Balboul brothers are to be kept in the hospital until their health conditions improve. Once their health conditions stabilize, another court session will be held to either release or sentence them again.

Brothers Mahmoud and Muhammad Balboul began their hunger strikes on July 4 and 7 respectively. The brothers were detained on June 9 and sentenced to administrative detention shortly before their younger sister Nuran, 16, was released after spending four months in Israeli prison.

The hunger strikers have experienced deteriorating health, as both brothers were rushed to the intensive care unit of two Israeli hospitals within a few days of each other as their health conditions took a turn for the worst, with Muhammad experiencing temporary blindness.

Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayid suspended his hunger strike last month after spending 71 days without food to protest being held in administrative detention.

Kayid went on hunger strike in June after Israeli authorities sentenced him to administrative detention on the day he was scheduled to be released from prison after serving a 14-and-a-half year sentence.

Israel’s policy of administrative detention, which allows Israel to detain someone without trial or charge, is almost exclusively used against Palestinians and has been widely criticized by rights group which have accused Israel of using the policy to erode Palestinian political and social life by detaining scores of Palestinians without proof of wrongdoing.

According to prisoners' rights group Addameer, as of July, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons, 750 of whom were being held under administrative detention.

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