Khalil Awawdeh: Israel denies appeal to release seriously ill Palestinian hunger striker

Khalil Awawdeh: Israel denies appeal to release seriously ill Palestinian hunger striker
Physicians for Human Rights Israel said Khalil Awawdeh's life 'is in immediate danger' and that he 'suffers from severe neurological symptoms and cognitive impairment'.
2 min read
16 August, 2022
Khalil Awawdeh, 40, is a Palestinian father-of-four held in Israeli administrative detention [Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto/Getty-archive]

Hunger-striking Palestinian detainee Khalil Awawdeh will remain in Israeli captivity after an appeal for his release was denied by an Israeli military court.

Awawdeh, 40, began his hunger strike 166 days ago to fight against his administrative detention – a form of imprisonment where Israel holds Palestinians without charge or trial.

A spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority's Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees' Affairs, Hasan Abed Rabbo, said Awawdeh's health is deteriorating daily, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

His weight has fallen by more than a half. He relies on a wheelchair and suffers from joint pain, dizziness and other symptoms, including blurred vision that left him unable to recognise his wife Dalal when she came to see him in hospital.

Physicians for Human Rights Israel's Dr Lina Qasem-Hassan visited Awawdeh in hospital on Thursday.

She said he weighed 42 kilograms and was handcuffed to a bed, surrounded by guards.

"He suffers from severe neurological symptoms and cognitive impairment," said Physicians for Human Rights Israel. "His life is in immediate danger."

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Awawdeh was arrested in December and handed an administrative detention order of six months.

Israel claims he is a militant, but the father-of-four denied this through his lawyer, Ahlam Haddad.

Haddad confirmed that an Israeli military court had rejected Awawdeh's appeal for release.

Awawdeh has not eaten during his hunger strike, except for a 10-day period in which he received vitamin injections, according to his family.

Wafa reported that the Palestinian detainee renewed his strike on 2 July after Israel went back on a commitment to free him when his administrative detention expired. Instead, they renewed his detention order for four more months.

Palestinians often use hunger strikes as a means of fighting against administrative detention.

This form of imprisonment, in which detainees' lawyers are forbidden from seeing the evidence against their clients, has been slammed by rights groups.

"In violation of the restrictions placed by international law, Israel makes routine, extensive use of administrative detention," leading Israeli rights organisation B'Tselem said in April.

Agencies contributed to this report.