Palestinian administrative detainees Kayed al-Fasfous and Ayad al-Harimi, who were on hunger strike for 131 and 61 days respectively against their illegal administrative detention by Israel have ended their protests after reaching an agreement with authorities to secure their release, multiple news reports stated on Tuesday, November 23. As per the agreements reached between the detainees and the Israeli authorities, al-Fasfous will be released on December 14 while al-Harimi will be released on March 4 next year following the completion of their current administrative detention. The Palestinian detainees on hunger strike had received widespread support and solidarity from around the world. Their health had drastically declined over the past few weeks.
31-year old al-Fasfous, from the town of Doura southwest of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, was arrested last year in October and placed in administrative detention. He embarked on his hunger strike on July 15 after the administrative detention order against him was renewed for a second time. During the course of his 131-day-long hunger strike, he started to suffer from various serious health issues, such as extreme weight loss, intermittent loss of consciousness, irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, kidney and heart problems, shortage of fluids in the body, high fever and recurring pain. His family had expressed concerns that he is on the verge of ‘clinical death’. He will be kept hospitalized at the Barzilai Medical Centre in Ashkelon in southern Israel for the remainder of his sentence as he is being treated for these health problems.
28-years-old Al-Harimi hails from the city of Bethlehem. He was arrested in April this year and placed in administrative detention. He began his hunger strike on July 15 demanding his release. He is also experiencing several health issues such as severe pain, blurred vision, and losing the ability to stand and walk. He was recently transferred from Ramla prison to Ofer prison and will serve the remainder of his sentence there.
Two other administrative detainees continue to remain on hunger strike. Hisham Abu Hawawash and Loay al-Ashqar are now on hunger strike for 98 and 43 days, respectively.
Under its policy of administrative detention, Israel imprisons Palestinians without charge or trial based on secret evidence which is not even disclosed to the detainees’ lawyers. The administrative detention orders can be renewed multiple times after every 4 to 6 month interval, effectively keeping the detainees in prison indefinitely. There are currently around 520 Palestinians being held under administrative detention in Israel, of a total of 4,650 Palestinian prisoners. Human rights and prisoners’ rights groups, as well as various international organizations including the United Nations, have repeatedly called upon Israel to release all the administrative detainees and end the use of this colonial policy which contravenes both international and Israeli law.