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Palestinian man serves full prison sentence — Israel refuses to release him

Bilal Kayed was supposed to leave Israeli prison on June 13, after serving nearly 15 years behind bars. But on the day of his release, Israel decided to put him in administrative detention.

By Ahmad Al-Bazz / Activestills.org

The mother of Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed takes part in a protest in solidarity with her son, in the village of Asira Ash Shamaliya, Nablus district, West Bank, June 18, 2016. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

The mother of Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed takes part in a protest in solidarity with her son, in the village of Asira Ash Shamaliya, Nablus district, West Bank, June 18, 2016. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed should have been out of prison by now. But on the day of his release and despite serving close to 15 years behind bars, Israel’s military authorities decided to put him in administrative detention for a period of six months.

On Saturday dozens of Palestinians took part in a solidarity march with Kayed in the West Bank town of Asira ash-Shamaliya, near Nablus. Kayed was supposed to be released from Israeli prison on June 13th.

Administrative detention is a procedure that Israel uses to imprison detainees based on secret evidence, without charging them or allowing them to defend themselves at trial. Administrative detention orders may be renewed indefinitely.

The demonstrators gathered at the center of town and marched to Kayed’s family’s home while holding up his photo, as well as Palestinian and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine flags (PFLP).

Palestinians take part in a protest in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoner Bilal Khaled, in the village of Asira Ash Shamaliya, Nablus district, West Bank, June 18, 2016.

Palestinians take part in a protest in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoner Bilal Khaled, in the village of Asira Ash Shamaliya, Nablus district, West Bank, June 18, 2016.

Outside the family home, PFLP activists read a press release written by party leaders, calling for massive protests across the country in support of Kayed.

“June 21 and 22 will be days of hunger strike in all Israeli prisons” said the statement, which described the step as an “initial one that could be followed with an open hunger strike among all PFLP prisoners if they bring about no Israeli response.” The statement also condemned Israel’s punishment of PFLP prisoners by preventing family visits.

Palestinian Legislative Council member Hosni Burini of Hamas, who took part in the demonstration, denounced Kayed’s detention. “It is not only us who do not respect Israeli courts and rulings, Israel doesn’t respect them either. What do they want from a prisoner who served more than 14 years sentence in their prisons?”

According to Burini the decision aims to punish the prisoner and his family, since it was issued at the last moment while his family was awaiting his release.

Kayed, 34, has been imprisoned by since December 2001 on charges of membership in the PFLP, as well as participation in activities against the State of Israel. He was 19 years old at the time of his arrest. Kayed is now among 750 Palestinians held in administrative detention without charge or trial.

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