Israel, Palestinian lawyer reach agreement to free hunger strikers

“The agreement stipulates that the administrative detention of the two hunger striking prisoners can be renewed one final time for four months on February 1, meaning they will be released on June 1.”

By
December 22, 2016 16:38
2 minute read.
A Palestinian man in Ramallah lies on a bed wears a face covering depicting Mohammed al-Qiq

A Palestinian man in Ramallah lies on a bed wears a face covering depicting hunger striking Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO)

The Israeli Military Prosecution Service and a Palestinian lawyer reached an agreement to free Ahmad Abu Fara and Anas Shadeed, two Palestinians under administrative detention who entered the 90th day of their hunger strikes on Thursday.

Essa Qaraqaa, the Palestinian Authority Prisoner Affairs Minister, revealed the basic details of the agreement to The Jerusalem Post.

“The agreement stipulates that the administrative detention of the two hunger striking prisoners can be renewed one final time for four months on February 1, meaning they will be released on June 1,” Qaraqaa said in a phone call, adding that Abu Fara and Shadeed, who are now being held at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Beer Yaakov, ended their hunger strike.

Abu Fara, 31, from Surif close to Bethlehem, and Shadeed,19, from Dura near Hebron, were administratively detained on July 2.

The circumstances surrounding their detention are unclear.

After being held for more than two months without facing charges, the two detainees decided on September 25 to carry out hunger strikes. Last week, they refused to drink water for five days, leading to a number of health complications, according to Palestinian news reports.

Qaraqaa welcomed the agreement, calling it a “victory for Palestinian prisoners.”

“This agreement is a major accomplishment and victory for Palestinian prisoners against the racist and illegal Israeli policy of administrative detention,” Qaraqaa said, stating further that “Israel must end this policy, which we will continue to fight in international forums.”

Israel holds that it carries out administrative detentions in extreme cases to prevent expected attacks, and that it is permitted under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassim said the agreement “is proof of our prisoners’ ability to extract their rights from the occupier.

The agreement comes days after the High Court rejected a petition to free and transfer Abu Fara and Shadeed to a Palestinian hospital in Ramallah.

Ahlam Hadad, the detainees’ lawyer, told Palestinian news agency Ma'an on Thursday that “the court said it could not cancel their administrative detention” as long as the two detainees pose a threat to Israel’s security.

The Israeli Military Prosecution Service was not immediately available to respond to a request for comment.

Over the past year, a number of Palestinians under administrative detention have carried out hunger strikes for tens of days and then reached agreements with Israeli authorities for their release.

In May, Muhammed al-Qiq reached an agreement with Israeli authorities to be set free and end his 94-day hunger strike. Four months later, Bilal Kayed struck a deal with Israeli authorities to be released and cease his 71-day hunger strike.

Approximately 700 Palestinians are currently being held under administrative detention.


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