Palestinian prisoner’s health declines after 68-day hunger strike

Jerusalem, Sep 6 (IANS) The health of a Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike is rapidly deteriorating, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs told EFE on Tuesday.

Mahmoud al-Balboul, a 21-year-old Palestinian detainee has suffered a severe decline in his health after his hunger strike started on July 4 and was taken to Assaf Harofeh hospital, near Tel Aviv.

“He was hospitalised again yesterday. We have filed an appeal at the Israeli Supreme Court to petition for his release,” the spokesperson said.

The young prisoner, who was detained along with his older brother on June 9, was suffering from temporary blindness due to a lack of nutrients, was in a serious medical state and his condition was worsening by the hour.

Palestinian Health Minister Jawad Awad warned Israeli authorities against force-feeding Balboul.

“Force-feeding is a form of torture and a violation of medical ethics, as it violates the patient’s right to decline medical treatment,” Awad said.

Balboul and his 26-year-old dentist brother Muhammad started their hunger strike over two months ago to protest their administrative detention, a legal formula that allows for the indefinite imprisonment of Palestinians in the occupied territories without a trial or charges.

Although the maximum length of administrative detentions is six months, they can be renewed and extended indefinitely.

Mahmoud and Muhammad Balboul’s father Ahmad, a leader of Fatah’s armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, was killed in an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) operation in 2008.

According to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Adamir, there are currently 7,000 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, of which 750 are under administrative detention, 350 are minors and 62 are women.

Last month, prisoner Belal Kayed ended a 71-day hunger strike after reaching an agreement with Israeli authorities that his fourteen and a half year administrative detention would not be extended further with his release set for December 12.



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