Palestinian prisoner Maher Al-Akhras returns home after 'heroic' hunger-strike

Palestinian prisoner Maher Al-Akhras returns home after 'heroic' hunger-strike
Maher al-Akhras was taken out of Israeli prison and sent home after being imprisoned by Israel and kept on administrative detention.
2 min read
26 November, 2020
Maher al-Akhras has been released [Getty]

Palestinian prisoner Maher Al-Akhras has been released from an Israeli prison after being on the verge of death due to his hunger strike

Israel released Akhras, 49, on Thursday morning. He arrived at a hospital in the northern West Bank city of Nablus for a medical check-up before continuing to his hometown, Silat Al-Dahr, in Jenin district, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS).

Akhras was arrested in July this year and has since been detained without charge. He went on hunger strike in protest against Israel's widely condemned policy of administration detention.

He ended his hunger strike on 6 November after Israeli authorities agreed to release him. By then, his health had deteriorated and was on the verge of death.

Israel says it suspects Akhras, a father of six, of ties to Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad.  

There are currently 350 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons without charge, the Palestinian Commission of Detainees Affairs said earlier this week. Three of them have been on hunger strike in solidarity with Akhras.

Read also: Israel has detained 400 Palestinian children this year

Israel's prisoner population numbers around 5,700 Palestinians, including 200 children, 44 women, five members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and 27 journalists.

Around 470 Palestinian prisoners are held in "administrative detention" - without charge or trial, according to reports.

Under the administrative detention order, Israel detains Palestinians for six months at a time, which can be extended indefinitely.

Israel says the procedure allows authorities to hold suspects and prevent attacks while continuing to gather evidence, but critics and rights groups say the system is being abused.

Israel has illegally occupied the West Bank since 1967 and is accused of various abuses against Palestinian civilians.

In April, the UN Human Rights Council and the Red Cross urged Israel to release vulnerable prisoners, saying that they were at danger of contracting coronavirus, although there was no response from Israeli authorities.

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