Palestinian prisoner undeterred after 83 days of hunger strike

Palestinian prisoner undeterred after 83 days of hunger strike
Having refused food for over 80 days, Maher al-Akhras is continuing his hunger strike against his administrative detention.
2 min read
17 October, 2020
Maher al-Akhras has been described as being 'on the verge of death' [Twitter]
A hunger striking Palestinian prisoner has held firm to his pledge not to eat until he is freed by Israeli forces, despite being hospitalised due to his protest, his family has said.

Palestinian businessman Maher al-Akhras, 49, has refused food from Israeli authorities for over 80 days in protest against his detention without charge.

Immediately after his arrest on June 26, Akhras promised his six-year-old daughter that he would "not eat any food in the occupation prisons, and he will return to her and her siblings to eat together at home", Akhras' wife, Taghreed Al-Akhras, told The New Arab's Arabic language service.

Speaking from her husband's bedside at a hospital in Israel, Taghreed detailed his deteriorating health.

"Every day his condition worsens, and I can barely hear the sound of his whisper when he speaks to me. He is no longer able to speak, and he has lost more than 50 kilograms since the start of his hunger strike, " Taghreed said, adding that her husband's was was full of Israeli agents in medical uniforms and plainclothes monitoring her husband's "every breath".

"The doctors tried to give him vitamins, but he refused, and he suffers from severe fatigue and his life is on the line," Taghreed said.

Due to his refusal of medical examinations, it is also unclear how far Akhras' health has deteriorated. Earlier this week, Israeli rights group B'Tselem described AKhras as being "on the verge of death".

Akhras was first arrested by Israeli forces in 1989, when he was held for seven months. He was arrested again in 2004 and detained two years, tafter which he was also held in 2009 for 16 months. Prior to his most recent arrest in June, Akhras was arrested in 2018 for 11 months.

Earlier this month, a request for Akhras' release was rejected, with an Israeli court upholding a freeze on his administrative detention.

Israel's administrative detention system, inherited from the British mandate, allows the internment of prisoners for renewable periods of up to six months each, without bringing charges.

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 abused.

Around 355 Palestinians were being held under administrative detention orders as of August, including two minors, according to B'Tselem.

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