Palestinian hunger-striker entering ‘critical phase’: ICRC

A Palestinian man on hunger strike for more than 85 days since his arrest by Israel is entering a medically “critical phase,” the International Committee of the Red Cross says.

Maher al-Akhras, 49, was arrested near Nablus and placed in administrative detention, a policy that Israel uses to hold suspected terrorists without charge.

Maher al-Akhras, a 49-year-old security prisoner, while on a hunger strike in Kaplan hospital in Rehovot on October 8, 2020 (Aaron Boxerman/Times of Israel)

The married father of six launched his strike to protest the policy. He had been arrested several times previously by Israel.

“More than 85 days into the hunger strike, we are concerned about potentially irreversible health consequences,” says Yves Giebens, the head of the ICRC’s health department in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

“From a medical perspective, he is entering a critical phase,” Giebens adds in a statement.

The ICRC says it has been “closely monitoring” the situation, including a visit with Akhras today.

“The ICRC encourages the patient, his representatives and the competent authorities involved to find a solution that will avoid any loss of life,” the statement says.

— with AFP