The appeals court at Ofer Prison ordered two hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners freed next week after their health deteriorated.
Jaffar az-Aldin and Tarik Kadan, Islamic Jihad operatives from Araba in northern Samaria, had their administrative detentions reduced by two weeks, according to their attorney Jawad Bulous. The prisoners were slated to be released on May 22.
“They went on a hunger strike more than 90 days ago to protest their administrative detention,” Bulous was quoted in Maariv as saying. According to him, Aldin and Kadan expected to receive another administrative detention, and decided to embark on the hunger strike.
According to their lawyer, the prisoners were transferred from Megiddo Prison to Ramle Prison’s hospital after their conditions took a turn for the worse. “Therefore,” said Bulous, “the court decided to free them on Wednesday.”
He told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency that the two had agreed to end their hunger strike after the ruling.
In March, Israel released another Palestinian hunger striker, Ayman Sharawneh, on the condition that he remain in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip for 10 years.
In April, Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi agreed to a deal with Israeli military prosecutors that ended his eight-month-long hunger strike in exchange for an early release from prison.
The hunger strikes have attracted significant attention in the international media. Issawi’s deteriorating condition prompted demonstrations throughout the West Bank, as well as solidarity hunger strikes among other Palestinian inmates.
Defense officials have expressed fear that, were prisoners to die of malnourishment or complications stemming from the strikes, a serious conflagration could erupt in the West Bank.
Those fears were exacerbated in early April, when another Palestinian prisoner, Maysara Abuhamdia, died of cancer, sparking riots among other Palestinians in Israeli prisons and clashes throughout the West Bank between demonstrators and IDF troops.
Asher Zeiger contributed to this report.