Fears for Palestinian hunger striker

Calls for Hana Shalabi, protesting against her detention by Israel, to be moved to hospital after month without food.

    Fears for Palestinian hunger striker
    Israeli prison authorities say 20 Palestinian detainees have also launched hunger strikes in support of Shalabi [AFP]

    A Palestinian woman prisoner, who has been on hunger strike for the past one month against her detention by Israel without formal charges, is in grave danger of dying, a medical rights group has said.

    A doctor for Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, who examined Hana Shalabi on Tuesday, said she had lost 14 kilograms and was in excruciating pain.

    Shalabi has taken only water since her arrest on February 16.

    "We are worried. Her physician has demanded she be transferred to hospital," said Ran Cohen, the doctor.

    Shalabi was taken to hospital for examination on Tuesday but was later returned to prison and was being monitored in a clinic there, said Sivan Weizman, Israel’s prison service spokeswoman.

    Prison authorities say 20 Palestinian detainees have launched hunger strikes in support of Shalabi in the past two weeks.

    Administrative detention

    Shalabi, 30, a supporter of the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad, is being held without formal charges, an Israeli system called "administrative detention".

    Um Omar, centre, mother of Shalabi, protests near Red Cross offices in Ramallah, West Bank [EPA]

    She is scheduled to be released in another three months.

    Israeli military officials say they use administrative detention to hold people who pose an immediate risk to the country's security, or when displaying incriminating evidence would reveal Israeli intelligence-gathering networks.

    More than 300 of some 6,000 Palestinians currently held by Israel on security-related charges are in administrative detention.

    Rights activists say international law allows this practice only in exceptional cases and that Israel blatantly violates these restrictions.

    Earlier this year, administrative detainee Khader Adnan staged a hunger strike for 66 days. He ended the protest after reaching a deal with the Israeli authorities to free him in April.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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