'Hunger striker Shalabi not on verge of death'

Prisons Service says that Palestinian prisoner re-arrested after Schalit deal has received treatment and is in stable condition.

Badeeah Shalabi holds a placard of her daughter Hana 390 (photo credit: reuters)
Badeeah Shalabi holds a placard of her daughter Hana 390
(photo credit: reuters)
The Prisons Service on Wednesday denied reports that a female prisoner on hunger strike since mid-February is on the verge of death, saying that she has received treatment and is in stable condition.
Prisons Service spokeswoman Sivan Weizman said that she was told by staff at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba that Hana Shalabi, 30, is in no danger of dying. She also said that Shalabi has been on a hunger strike for only 31 days, rather than the 35 claimed by Shalabi’s supporters.
Shalabi has been variously described as a supporter and a member of Islamic Jihad.
Weizman added that there are around 23 prisoners on hunger strike. Most of them have been on strike for around two weeks and are doing so in solidarity with Shalabi, the spokeswoman said.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, the groups Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association – Addameer, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and Al-Haq expressed “grave concern for the health of Hana Shalabi, who is at immediate risk of death on her 34th day of hunger strike.”
They also said that they do not trust the quality of medical care provided by the Prisons Service.
Shalabi was arrested at her home in Burkin near Jenin on February 16, and taken to Hasharon Prison. She started her hunger strike the same day, according to PHR-Israel, because of what she said was violent, degrading treatment she suffered during her arrest.
On February 23, the army issued a six-month detention order for Shalabi, an order that can be renewed. The military court later ruled that she would sit on administrative detention for four months instead of six.
Before she was released in October as part of the deal with Hamas for abducted IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, Shalabi had spent two years in administrative detention.
Shalabi said on February 27 that she would no longer accept medical treatment from the Prisons Service and insisted on seeing a doctor from PHR-Israel, a demand that was denied.
PHR-Israel eventually received permission to treat her, and its representatives visited Shalabi on March 8, 9 and 12.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to stop the “shameful practice” of administrative detention, saying it “violates first and foremost the right to liberty and dignity.
“The vast majority of evidence on which the detentions are based is secret and hidden from the suspects and their attorneys. Suspects are therefore denied their rights to defend themselves and confront their accusers,” the statement added.
In February, Israel reached a deal with Islamic Jihad member Khader Adnan, who went on a 66-day hunger strike to protest his administrative detention, agreeing to release him at the end of April.