Palestinian hunger striker detained following hospital stay

AP News
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Posted: Sep 16, 2015 10:42 AM
Palestinian hunger striker detained following hospital stay

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli authorities detained a Palestinian man on Wednesday, just hours after he was discharged from an Israeli hospital following a two-month hunger strike to protest his earlier detention without charges.

Mohammed Allan's condition had improved enough for him to be discharged, the Barzilai hospital in southern Israel said earlier in the day.

His lawyer, Jamil Khatib, said that shortly after Allan left the hospital, he was detained again by Israeli authorities and immediately launched a new hunger strike.

According to the lawyer, the renewed detention is illegal since it did not include a review of the case. Khatib said he would appeal to Israel's Supreme Court on Allan's behalf.

In August, Allan ended his unprecedented 66-day hunger strike, shortly after Israel's Supreme Court suspended his detention. The prolonged strike had put him in serious condition and doctors feared that he had suffered some brain damage as a result of the fast.

Israel accuses the 31-year-old Allan of links to the Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian militant group that has carried out scores of attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers. Allan denies the affiliation.

Allan's case tested a new Israeli law allowing fasting inmates to be force-fed, a measure that many doctors say amounts to torture. It also cast light on Israel's use of administrative detention — the holding of suspects in special cases for long periods without charge.

During his prolonged hunger strike, Allan was not force-fed, which entails inserting a feeding tube into his stomach. He was, however, given intravenous fluids, vitamins and nutrients as his condition deteriorated.

The Supreme Court suspended the detention order and released Allan while he was receiving medical care. At the time of its ruling, the court did not specify what would happen to Allan if he recovered, saying only that he could petition for his release if his condition improved.

Khatib said that authorities were required to review Allan's case before detaining him again.

The Arab civil rights group Adalah, which petitioned the court on Allan's behalf, said the new arrest was a "random and vindictive act" that had nothing to do with the evidence required to keep him in administrative detention.

Allan began his fast to protest the policy of administrative detention. Israeli authorities argue the measure is needed to stop militant attacks, adding that revealing the charges would expose intelligence networks and put lives in danger. Rights groups say it violates due process, is meant only for extraordinary cases, and is overused.

Israel's Shin Bet security service said on Wednesday that in light of Allan's improved health and "intelligence information," his release would "pose a danger to the peace and security of the region."

It said it would renew Allan's administrative detention until November 4.