Maher al-Akhras, a Palestinian man jailed by the Zionist state of ‘Israel’ since July 2020, has ended his painful hunger strike that has lasted for an astonishing 103 days. Al-Akhras remains in critical condition and was transferred to Kaplan Medical Center in September after spending the months prior in Ofer Prison, West Bank. In a statement from the bedside of al-Akhras in Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, Joint List Member of Knesset Ahmad Tibi said:
“Maher al-Akhras has announced that his hunger strike has ended on its 103rd day due to a commitment that he will be freed on November 26th and his administrative detention will not be renewed.”
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The Israeli internal security service Shabak erroneously suspected that al-Akhras is a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a group founded in 1981.
A statement by the Shabak read:
“Intelligence was received that [al-Akhras] was a prominent activist in Islamic Jihad, involved in activities that endangered public safety.”
The reasoning and legislation behind the arrest and subsequent imprisonment is highly controversial, and the case shines the spotlight on this method of so-called “administrative detention”.
‘Israel’, like the US, UK, and other countries, deems it fit to lock up those whom it suspects of being involved in alleged terrorist activities, neither charging the individuals nor bringing them to trial.
Taghreed, the wife of Al-Akhras, was quoted as saying:
“Every day, he dies 100 times in front of my eyes and I can do nothing… What to do when we see those dearest to us dying in front of us… What danger can he present when he cannot even get out of bed?”
The basis of the Israeli administrative detention law dates back to when Palestine was governed by the UK as Mandatory Palestine. The Defence (Emergency) Regulations of 1945 – later amended by ‘Israel’ in 1979 to become a part of its own set of laws – allows for administrative detention of six months. This can be extended further if deemed necessary by the courts.
Al-Akhras has been arrested numerous times previously, as reported by the Middle East Eye:
“He was detained for seven months in 1989, for two years starting in 2004, 16 months starting in 2009, 11 months in 2018 and most recently in July.”
The case of al-Akhras has gained such traction globally that the UN and the EU have both released strongly worded statements condemning his imprisonment and the use of administrative detention by ‘Israel’:
“The EU is closely following the rapidly deteriorating health condition of Mr. Mahar Al-Akhras as he continues the hunger strike since July to protest his administrative detention without formal charges in Israel. Regardless of the allegations against Mr. Al-Akhras, the European Union reiterates its long-standing concerns about the extensive use by Israel of administrative detention without formal charges.”
“Around 350 Palestinians are currently being held in administrative detention. Detainees have the right to be informed about the charges underlying any detention and be subject to a fair trial. The European Union calls on Israel to fully respect international humanitarian law as well as its human rights obligations towards all prisoners, also in light of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and to do all it can to preserve the health of Mr. Al-Akhras in the continued handling of this case.”
In shā Allāh brother Maher is released on the 26th of this month as agreed by the Israelis. We also pray that the brother has a speedy and full recovery from this ordeal.