Last Updated: Mon May 07, 2012 13:50 pm (KSA) 10:50 am (GMT)

Israel’s Supreme Court rejects Palestinian hunger strikers’ appeals

A hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners against Israel’s jail policies has swollen in weeks from a protest by a handful to a national movement with at least 1,500 participants. (Reuters)
A hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners against Israel’s jail policies has swollen in weeks from a protest by a handful to a national movement with at least 1,500 participants. (Reuters)

Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by two Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike for 69 days in protest at being held without charge, their lawyer told AFP.

“The Supreme Court refused both appeals,” Jamil Khatib said of the move by Bilal Diab, 27, and Thaer Halahla, 34, who had appealed to Israel’s highest court on Thursday to end the administrative detention orders under which they are being held.

“They will continue their strike till the end,” Khatib added.

“Israeli courts do not handle administrative detention in a positive way. It shows that the intelligence services have the final word.”

Halahla was arrested on June 28, 2010 and has been held in administrative detention ever since, while Diab has been held since August 17, 2011.

Both began refusing food on Feb. 29.

Administrative detention is an antiquated procedure that allows suspects to be held without charge for periods of up to six months, which are renewable indefinitely.

Israel has said it fears that the death of any Palestinian prisoner, as a result of the ongoing hunger strike, which has entered its 21st day, may lead to renewed violence in the territories, the online edition of Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported on Monday.

The prisoners demand an end to solitary confinement, an end to administrative detentions and reinstating family visits from Gaza, Ynet news reported.

Meanwhile, the Israel Prison Service has agreed to give the prisoners some of their privileges back, but has not accepted their demand to end the administrative detention policy.

On Saturday, a spokeswoman for the prison service said that 10 hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners have been hospitalized.

They are among 1,500 to 2,500 Palestinian prisoners who started refusing food 19 days ago, demanding a halt to imprisonment without charges, an end to solitary confinement and reinstating family visits from Gaza.

Prison spokeswoman Sivan Weizeman the 10 were transferred to a prison clinic for medical supervision. Another prisoner, Bilal Diab, was moved to a civilian hospital last week. He has refused food for 68 days so far.

Weizeman did not say when the 10 were transferred or what medical treatment they received.

Israeli officials and Palestinians give different numbers of hunger strikers. Eight prisoners have been on strike for over 50 days.

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