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High Court rejects appeal; two inmates on hunger strike may die

The High Court of Justice rejected the petition filed by hunger striking administrative detainees Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla to release them immediately. The two have been refusing to eat for 70 days – and doctors fear for their lives.

Justices ruled on Monday that there is a suspicion that the two detainees are active within Islamic Jihad, and therefore their continued detention is approved. However, justices also noted that their interrogations were insufficient, and that better investigations need be carried out in the future. The ruling ends with this statement (translation mine):

[The hunger strike] cannot in itself form a factor in the decision regarding the validity of an administrative detention… Administrative detention causes unease for any judge, but it is sometimes a necessity when the revealing of intelligence gathered against the petitioner would endanger the people who gave it or the ways of gathering it.

However, justices also asked authorities to consider releasing the two based on the Parole Act, which requires that inmates whose life is at risk from detention itself need be set free. Physicians for Human Rights has released a statement saying the court’s decision is “tantamount to sentencing them to death.”

Demonstration in support of prisoners, Nablus (Ahmad Al-Bazz / Activestills)

Demonstration in support of prisoners, Nablus (Ahmad Al-Bazz / Activestills)

The two detainees have now broken a previous record by Khader Adnan, who was the first in a series of detainees to go on hunger strike, and who reached an agreement with Israeli authorities to be released after 66 days without food. Their lawyer, Jawad Boulos, recently told Haaretz that he fears that after the release of Khader Adnan and Hana Shalabi, Israel will prefer seeing detainees die behind bars than allow them to chip away at its system of administrative detention. On the other hand, in recent days several Israeli officials started talking about reconsidering the use of administrative detention, and bettering conditions in prison.

The detainees’ hunger strike has grown over previous weeks, and now includes more than 1,500 Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons, and regular demonstrations of support have been taking place in the West Bank and Gaza.

Read also:

Israel admits: Administrative detention unnecessary
As hunger strike persists, Israel mulls response to prisoners
Prisoner on hunger strike faints in court; judges delay ruling
‘Empty Stomachs’ hunger strike spreads across prisons
As prisoners reach the breaking point, what will Israel do?
Palestinian Prisoners’ Day: Hundreds join hunger strike

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    1. the other joe

      The hunger strikes do have a purpose, in that much more of a propaganda battle is won by the strikers if they did than if they’re released.
      It is a stupid argument to think that they’re going to be active in anything very much for a long time – they’re close to death.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Sherri Munnerlyn

      We see what losing your humanity looks like for Occupiers in an Occupation.

      The face of an Occupier, silence in the face of those demanding human dignity and human rights and freedom, with their lives the sacrifice.

      What do we gain even if we possess the whole world, if we lose our souls in the process?

      Reply to Comment
    3. sh

      “However, justices also noted that their interrogations were insufficient, and that better investigations need be carried out in the future.”
      Why is that not sufficient grounds to save the lives of those whose investigations were deficient in this way?

      Reply to Comment
    4. sherri munnerlyn

      The Other Joe,

      They win whether they live or die.

      That is the beauty of fasting/hunger strikes, to take a stand against Injustice.

      They have been transformed into Palestinian heroes.

      They are engaging in acts of self sacrifice.

      Look at the company they are in, the ones who fasted and engaged in hunger strikes and engaged in acts of self sacrifice before them, Gandhi, the Prophets, Jesus Christ.

      When it comes down to it and one spends some time thinking about it, it is hard to think of a better way to die.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Israel does not have a jury system. The judge hearing a case could close the court when sensitive information is at issue. The reality is that the State does not want defense attorneies to have access to such information–even though a leak by such could be, probably already is, criminalized. Since there is thus no oversight, the State may make up what it needs; and without a check, this will happpen.
      If the Justices believe the interrogations were wanting, they could order the release of the now physically helpless prisoners to warn the State against future inadequacies. Suggestions with no bite will be ignored.
      Those on the Court are well aware their orders often go ignored. They are captitulating to the State under the label of national security. The Court has the means to prevent this from happening again, but cowers. Justice is in retreat.
      Coupled with the Citizenship case, I see a Court willing to give the State a blank check against all non Israelis.
      I am disgusted.
      Sherri, above, it will be up to people like you to focus these events with the names of the past you mention. I fear what will happen if some of these die.

      Reply to Comment