Hunger strikers’ appeal rejected by Supreme Court

Hunger strikers’ appeal rejected by Supreme Court

Justice says refusal to eat is not a legal consideration when discussing the release of prisoners

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Supreme Court justice Elyakim Rubinstein (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)
Supreme Court justice Elyakim Rubinstein (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)

The Supreme Court rejected on Monday the appeal of two Palestinians who have been hunger striking for 71 days, saying that refusing food was not a factor when debating the legality of their incarceration.

Justice Elyakim Rubinstein said the material presented by security forces justified holding the two in administrative detention since they were members of terror organizations.

Rubinstein noted that when a prisoner is in a life-threatening situation, releasing him should be considered if it were to prevent his death.

The judge noted there was a problem with proper representation in cases of administrative detainees, since the attorneys can’t access all the relevant information. He suggested appointing the two a lawyer with security clearance so that they would receive the best legal help available.

The current attorney for the two, Jamil Khatib, rejected Rubinstein’s suggestion, saying a person with such clearance was de facto someone who had worked for Israeli security forces.

Rubinstein also recommended the IDF and security forces look carefuly into extending the detention of the two prisoners. Thaer Halahleh will be finishing his second year in administrative detention, while Bilal Diab is being held for economic ties to terror organizations. These were reasons to examine their situation at the end of the term, he explained.

Khatib was quoted by Al-Jazeera as saying Diab and Halahleh “will continue their strike till the end.”

Over the weekend 10 Palestinians were transferred to Israeli hospitals for medical care after their health deteriorated. The 10 are part of a mass hunger strike in protest of Israel’s administrative detention process.

In April Israel released Khader Adnan after a 66-day hunger strike, when he was in a very bad medical condition. His strike and release received worldwide coverage and encouraged hundreds of other prisoners to protest in the same way.

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