WEST BANK (Dispatches) – A Palestinian prisoner on a hunger strike for nearly 80 days since his arrest by the Zionist regime in late July is "on the verge of death”, Israeli rights group B’Tselem says.
Maher al-Akhras, 49, was arrested near Nablus and placed in the so-called administrative detention, a policy the Zionist regime uses to hold inmates without charge.
The married father of six launched his hunger strike to protest the policy. He has been arrested several times previously by the Zionist regime, which accuses him of having ties to the Islamic Jihad resistance movement.
At the hospital, Akhras’s wife Taghreed told Reuters that he would continue the hunger strike for his immediate release despite a decision on Monday by the regime’s supreme court not to extend his four-month detention term beyond Nov. 26.
"The responsibility for what happens next lies with those who can prevent his further deterioration and even death,” the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, which is monitoring the case, said in statement. "They can still stop this from happening.”
Ahkras’s wife said her husband, too weak to leave his bed, was not handcuffed in the hospital, and there were no guards visible near his room.
The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights called on international rights groups to intervene immediately to "save the life of Akhras before it is too late.”
On Monday, about 40 people held a rally in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah to support him.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh demanded al-Akhras’s "immediate release”, according to a statement published by the official WAFA news agency.
Al-Akhras was transferred in early September to Kaplan Medical Center, south of Tel Aviv. His lawyers have appealed on multiple occasions to the occupying regime’s supreme court for his release, including at a hearing on Monday.
The Palestinians and human rights groups say administrative detention, which was inherited from the British mandate, violates the right to due process since evidence is withheld from prisoners while they are held for lengthy periods without being charged, tried or convicted.
"Administrative detention is a crime and should end. We hold Israel fully responsible for his life and call for his immediate release,” said Qadura Fares of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club last week.
There are around 5,000 Palestinians in the Zionist regime’s jails, 350 of them under administrative detention, Palestinian officials said.