Israeli court rejects appeal for release of Palestinian detainee on hunger strike for 126 days

Administrative detainee Kayed al-Fasfous is experiencing severe physical consequences from his prolonged hunger strike, including weight loss, low blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. Doctors have informed his family at the he is at grave risk of sudden death

November 17, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike
Fawzia Fasfous, mother of Palestinian prisoner Kayed Fasfous, in Hebron, West Bank on November 1. (Photo: Hisham K. K. Abu Shaqra/Anadolu Agency/Middle East Monitor)

Israel’s high court rejected an urgent appeal for the release of administrative detainee Kayed al-Fasfous, who has been on hunger strike for 126 days, as per multiple news reports on Tuesday, November 16. The appeal filed by the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission called for al-Fasfous’ immediate release due to fears that he is on the verge of death following the severe deterioration in his health. According to reports, this is the fourth time that Israeli courts have rejected a petition requesting his release on health and humanitarian grounds.

Al-Fasfous was transferred to the intensive care unit at the Israeli Barzilai medical center from Ramleh prison after his health deteriorated. Doctors there have reportedly told his family that he could die at any moment and is suffering from a wide range of health issues including extreme weight loss, intermittent loss of consciousness, irregular heartbeat, tingling sensation in the chest, low blood pressure, kidney and heart problems, shortage of fluids in the body, and recurring pain. As per reports, doctors have also noticed signs of blood clots forming in his body, putting him at serious risk of life-threatening medical problems. 

34-year-old al-Fasfous hails from Dura village near Hebron, south of the occupied West Bank. He was arrested in October 2020 and placed under administrative detention. He launched his hunger strike on July 15 this year after his illegal administrative detention was renewed for a second time, effectively to keep him in prison for at least six more months. Last month, Israeli police and intelligence services reactivated the administrative detention order against him and sentenced him to another six-month term before an Israeli court froze the order, keeping him as an unofficial prisoner instead of an administrative detainee on the record. The freezing of the order against al-Fasfous also meant that the prison and police authorities were no longer responsible for his life and physical health. 

Aside from al-Fasfous, five other detainees are also currently on hunger strike to protest their illegal administrative detention by Israel. They are: Alaa Al-Araj, on strike for 101 days, Hisham Abu Hawwash (93 days), Ayyad Al-Hraimi (54 days), Rateb Harebat (39 days) and Loay Al-Ashqar (37 days). They are being imprisoned by Israel without charge or trial based on secret evidence that is not being shared even with their lawyers. Their detention can also be renewed multiple times after every 4-6 month interval. Another administrative detainee, Miqdad al-Qawasmeh, who was also on hunger strike demanding an end to his administrative detention, ended his protest after reaching an agreement with the Israeli authorities for his release in February 2021. There are currently approximately 520 Palestinians being held under the illegal Israeli policy of administrative detention out of a total of over 4,600 Palestinian prisoners.