A former Palestinian hunger-striker who had only agreed to end his two-month long fast after being released from administrative detention was re-arrested on Wednesday immediately after leaving the hospital where he had been nursed back to health.
Mohammed Allaan, 31, was arrested by police after being released from Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. A new administrative detention order was issued for his arrest.
“Mohammed Allan, whose condition has improved, was arrested this morning by police at the hospital in Ashkelon,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.
His detention, scheduled to last until November 4, had been suspended as he received medical treatment following his hunger strike.
Relatives said he restarting his hunger strike upon being arrested, as he had threatened to do before calling off the two-month fast last month.
Allaan began a hunger strike in June to protest his internment under administrative detention, which allows Israel to jail suspects without charging them. He was being held for suspected involvement with the Islamic Jihad terror group.
The High Court of Justice in August suspended Allaan’s administrative detention after tests showed that he had sustained brain damage as a result of his two-month fast. There were conflicting reports as to whether the damage was reversible.
The temporary suspension of his status as prisoner was enough to allow Allaan to end his hunger strike, family members said at the time.
The Adalah legal aid organization, which was behind the legal push to have Allaan’s administrative detention lifted, condemned the rearrest and questioned the timing.
“The fact that the arrest warrant was renewed immediately after Allaan’s medical condition improved indicates that it is a vindictive and arbitrary step that is not based on the infrastructure needed to justify his continued administrative detention,” the group said in a statement. “From the moment he recovered, the authorities are bound to reexamine the evidence against him, something that was not done. Therefore we will consider, together with Allaan, submitting another petition against his administrative detention.”
Allaan had become a cause celebre in Palestinian society, and throughout his hospitalization Arab supporters and Jewish detractors staged rallies near the hospital, at times clashing with police.
Islamic Jihad had threatened to attack Israel with rocket fire from the Gaza Strip over Allaan’s condition and the army placed Iron Dome anti-missile batteries around the southern cities of Ashdod and Beersheba amid fears of a backlash over his health.
In August, Allaan said that he would restart his hunger strike if Israel returned him to detention.
“If the Israeli occupation arrests me again, I will return to the hunger strike until they put an end to the travesty I am suffering, as are hundreds of administrative prisoners,” he told a Hamas journal.
Israel passed a controversial law in July allowing the force feeding of prisoners, though doctors say they will refuse to sign off on the directive.
Some of Allaan’s supporters said giving him salts and nutrients as he slipped into critical condition last month amounted to force feeding.
AFP contributed to this report