Palestinian hunger striker regains consciousness

AP News
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Posted: Aug 18, 2015 10:47 AM
Palestinian hunger striker regains consciousness

JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian detainee who slipped into unconsciousness last week after a two-month hunger strike woke up Tuesday and said he would continue his protest, even as his condition remains critical.

Lawyer Jawad Bullos said Mohammed Allan, 31, vowed to "hunger strike until he is freed."

Allan said he would continue to refuse medications but accept vital fluids and supplements until Israel's Supreme Court rules on his case Wednesday, according to Bullos. Allan said he will stop drinking water and reject the fluids if the court does not order his release.

He also rejected an Israeli proposal made Tuesday to exile him for four years in exchange for ending his hunger strike, Bullos said.

Allan began his strike 64 days ago to protest being held in administrative detention, a measure allowing authorities to hold suspects for months without charge. Israel defends the practice as a necessary tool to stop militant attacks.

Israel says he is being held for his alleged affiliation with Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian armed group that has carried out numerous attacks.

Allan has denied the allegations and says Israel should either charge or release him.

Israel imprisoned Allan from 2006-2009 on charges of involvement with Islamic Jihad's militant activities. His family said that after his release Allan became a lawyer in the West Bank city of Nablus and cut ties with the group.

Israeli authorities arrested Allan again in November 2014 and detained him without charge for two six-month periods. Allan began his hunger strike in June to protest his continued detention without charge.

Doctors said Allan's condition now remains stable but critical.

Palestinian prisoners have used hunger strikes before to draw attention to their detention without trial or charges. Fearing that a fasting detainee's death could spark violence among Palestinians, Israel has at times acceded to hunger strikers' demands.

But Allan's fast is the first to test a new law, passed narrowly in July, which allows a judge to sanction force-feeding or medical treatment if an inmate's life is threatened, even if the prisoner refuses.

It is still unclear if the procedure will be carried out in Allan's case. On Monday, Israel's Supreme Court delayed a decision on releasing him. Israel's medical association has urged doctors not to comply with force-feeding, denouncing the act as inhumane.

In postponing a decision on Allan's release, Israel's high court called on the sides to reach a compromise.

Israel worries that Allan's death could lead to Palestinian unrest, but insists his release would only encourage other Palestinian prisoners to begin their own hunger strikes.