Hunger-striking Palestinian detainee’s life in danger

Hunger-striking Palestinian detainee’s life in danger as Israel refuses calls for release
3 min read
06 July, 2021
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club has warned that Ghadanfar Abu Atwan’s life was in danger as he entered the 63rd day of a hunger strike in protest at being detained by Israel without charge or trial.
Ghadanfar Abu Atwan (on poster) has been in administrative detention since last October [Getty]

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club (PPC) warned on Monday that the life of a Palestinian prisoner held without charge in Israeli "administrative detention" is in danger as he entered the 63rd day of a hunger strike.

Twenty-eight-year-old Ghadanfar Abu Atwan has been detained by Israel since October 2020 and began a hunger strike early in May to protest against his continued incarceration.

Israel routinely uses administrative detention orders to hold Palestinian prisoners indefinitely without charge or trial.

Last month, Abu Atwan lost consciousness as a result of his hunger strike and underwent emergency resuscitation at the Kaplan Medical Centre in the Israeli city of Rehovot. He continues to be held there.

The PPC, which campaigns for the rights of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails, said in a statement that Abu Atwan was now also refusing water in protest against his continued detention.

The statement added that there was a "continued deterioration" in Abu Atwan's health, saying that since last Saturday he had suffered further complications and was also refusing medical examinations.

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On Saturday, Abu Atwan issued a message to "the entire Palestinian people, free people around the world… and international and human rights organisations" saying, "my life is vanishing before my eyes. I’ve lost my health and my body has betrayed me. This occupier is imposing a slow death policy on me in Kaplan hospital, so save my life".

Abu Atwan's father Ikhman told The New Arab's Arabic-language service that he and his family feared that Ghadanfar "would be martyred", adding that his son was suffering from "heart murmurs, problems in the kidneys and loss of sensation in the legs" and can barely speak.

The PPC said that Ghadanfar was assaulted by Israeli prison guards after he began his hunger strike in May in the Ramon Prison in Israel. He was later moved to another "isolation" prison and placed in a cell "full of insects", where conditions were deliberately harsh, and refused water as well as food several times to protest against this.

On 31 May, his lawyers lodged an appeal with an Israeli court against his administrative detention but this was rejected. He was moved to the Ayalon Prison after this and was beaten by prison guards there, according to the PPC.

On 21 June he was transferred to the Kaplan Medical Centre after his health deteriorated.

Three days later an Israeli court froze his administrative detention order but the PPC said that this only meant that responsibility for guarding him was shifted from Israeli prison guards to Kaplan Medical Centre security and he was not allowed to leave, nor were his family allowed to see him.

His lawyers have not been allowed to visit him in the Kaplan Medical Centre.

Israel currently holds over 4,000 Palestinian prisoners in detention, with hundreds being held in administrative detention without charge or trial.