High Court interim ruling: Near-death hunger striker’s detention is still legal

Erdan: Releasing Allan would lead to a mass hunger strike among security prisoners and a new weapon for terrorists.

August 17, 2015 13:25
3 minute read.
A Palestinian woman holds a picture depicting Palestinian detainee Mohammed Allan

A Palestinian woman holds a picture depicting Palestinian detainee Mohammed Allan during a protest in solidarity with Allan in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The High Court of Justice made an interim ruling on Monday that the administrative detention of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Muhammad Allan was legal, although it ordered that a review of his health status take place on Wednesd ay.

Allan, being held under administrative detention, is in critical condition at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, where he is in a coma amid a 64-day hunger strike.

The State Attorney’s Office said earlier on Monday that it was willing to consider releasing him if he agreed to be deported for four years.

Administrative detention is highly controversial because it bypasses standard judicial proceedings in favor of streamlined proceedings with fewer procedural safeguards. Israel says it often is necessary in circumstances dealing with dangerous terrorists, where the evidence against them cannot be revealed in open court.
Amnesty against force-feeding hunger stikers

Some detainees have in the past agreed to deportation in order to obtain their release, but Adalah, the rights group that submitted the petition for Allan’s release, immediately rejected Israel’s offer.

Adalah stated that the proposal “shows that administrative detention has become a heavy and long-term punishment without a hearing and is based on irrelevant considerations.” It termed Allan’s arrest “vindictive.”

MK Yousef Jabareen (Hadash), who was present at Monday’s High Court hearing, said there would be an increase in protest activities by the country’s Arab community if the court rejected the petition.

“If the danger of his release is that he could still give orders and guidance to people, as the state argued, he could do the same from abroad,” Jabareen, who holds a PhD in civil rights law, said. “The state is punishing Allan for his heroic struggle against his draconian administrative detention.”

The state’s offer to allow Allan to go abroad “reveals the true face of the government’s position,” he continued. “If Allan is still dangerous, why is the state willing to allow him to go abroad? It is imperative to release Allan to save his life.”

The Hadash MK argued that it was a legal and moral issue for Israel to release him.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said on Sunday that if Israel were to release Allan because of his poor health, it would “lead to a mass hunger strike among security prisoners and [the creation of] a new weapon for terrorists.” He called the request to release Allan “a strange petition that seeks to free him because of his medical condition when he himself caused that medical condition.”

The Islamic Jihad, of which Allan is a member, has threatened to break the cease-fire on the Gaza front should Allan die.

The Barzilai Medical Center did not comment on Monday, but Dr. Daniel Ya’acobson, one of its intensive care physicians, told the court the hospital would not treat the prisoner against his will and that if he woke up and asked to halt the treatment and resume his hunger strike, “we will stop, and he is liable to die within a short time.”

During the High Court hearing, it emerged that prior to lapsing into a coma, Allan had refused a theoretical compromise offer for a delayed release. The coma made it difficult for the court to evaluate what Allan would or would not now agree to.

Ya’acobson and the state said that while Allan’s hunger strike was causing the prisoner irreparable physi - cal damage, he could still be brought back to health.

The court said that if Allan’s condition worsened before Wednesday, it should be informed in order to hold an immediate hearing on the issue.

Hundreds of protesters supporting opposing sides of the argument clashed Sunday night outside the Ashkelon hospital where he is being treated.

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report

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