[Pnews] Palestine - With no food for 77 days, his struggle for freedom continues

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Oct 12 12:25:29 EDT 2020

no food for 77 days, his struggle for freedom continues
Tamara Nassar <https://electronicintifada.net/people/tamara-nassar>  -
October 11, 2020
[image: A man embraces a poster of a man]

Palestinians in Gaza City rally in solidarity with hunger striker Maher
al-Akhras, on 10 October.
APA images

Palestinian Maher al-Akhras is severely ill and at risk of death after 77
days of continuous hunger strike to protest his detention by Israel without
charge or trial.

Al-Akhras, 49, is from the occupied West Bank town of Silat al-Dahr, near
Jenin. He is married and has six children.

Israel has jailed him repeatedly and he has spent a total of five years in
its prisons.

Israeli forces arrested him again on 27 July and placed him in
administrative detention for four months – which can be renewed

Israel’s use of administrative detention is a direct continuation of a
British colonial practice, and according to prisoners rights group Addameer may
amount to a war crime
as it deprives prisoners of their right to a fair trial.

Administrative detainees are held on supposed “secret” evidence against
them that neither they nor their lawyers can see.

Al-Akhras launched an open-ended hunger strike soon after his detention

Israeli prison authorities have transferred al-Akhras to the Kaplan Medical
Center in central Israel, where his condition is reported to be critical.

He is refusing to take supplements that provide essential minerals in the
absence of food.

The hospital moved al-Akhras this week to a different room after a nearby
patient tested positive for the new coronavirus.

“My death would be a murder by the occupation,” al-Akhras said in a video
<https://www.facebook.com/ppsmo/videos/339030777302063> from his hospital
bed earlier this month.

“It is not in my hands. Israel has the power to release or detain.”

Al-Akhras said he will continue to refuse food and negotiations.

Last week, he rejected an offer by the Shin Bet – Israel’s domestic
intelligence agency – to complete his current administrative detention
term, which ends on 26 November, the Safa Palestinian Press Agency reported

Ahlam Haddad, his lawyer, said he will persist with his strike until his
immediate release.

“My only conditions are freedom or death,” al-Akhras said in the video.

Taghrid al-Akhras, his wife, announced last week that she was launching a
hunger strike in solidarity with her husband.
Meaningless freeze

On 23 September, Hadded filed a petition with Israel’s highest court to
revoke her client’s administrative detention order.

The court responded by “freezing” the order. It explained its decision by
saying that al-Akhras’ critical health condition means he does not
represent a “security” threat, according
to human rights group Al-Haq.

However, such “freezes” – which Israeli courts have previously imposed in
the cases of other hunger strikers – change nothing in practice: Al-Akhras
is still not free to leave the hospital and return home. Nor is he even
freely allowed to receive visitors.

On 1 October, the high court rejected another petition filed for his
release, claiming that his order was currently “inactive” and therefore
could not be revoked.

It would appear therefore that the only effect of the “freeze” is further
to deny him any opportunity for relief through the Israeli courts, while he
remains a prisoner without charge or trial.

Israel’s high court rejected on Thursday a petition filed by his attorney
to release al-Akhras from administrative detention “on the basis of the
state’s stance on the matter,” according
to Tel Aviv daily *Haaretz*.

Israel’s high court habitually
as a rubberstamp
for the state’s demands.
False claims

In a closed session with Israel’s high court, the state reportedly claimed
that al-Akhras “had been recorded boasting” of being a member of the
Palestinian Islamic Jihad political and resistance organization from his
hospital bed.

*Haaretz* reported that the transcript the state presented to the court did
“not contain any reference” by al-Akhras to Islamic Jihad.

His lawyer said that al-Akhras denies Israel’s claims that he is a current
member of the political organization.

Israel considers virtually all Palestinian parties to be “terrorist”

Islamic Jihad assigned <http://www.almuhja.com/news41056a6.html> Israel
“full responsibility” for the life of al-Akhras.

A senior member of the group warned <https://jehad.ps/post/1317> that if
“anything wrong” happens to al-Akhras, Israel would “bear the consequence
of stalling” his release.

Activists and former prisoners are holding a sit-in at the Red Cross office
in the West Bank city of Jenin in solidarity with al-Akhras.

They include veteran hunger striker
Adnan <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/khader-adnan>.

Palestinians rallied in Gaza in solidarity with al-Akhras, calling for his

Another demonstration took place near the Red Cross office in Beirut,
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