Jerusalem24 – Khalil Awawdeh suspended yesterday his six-month long open-ended hunger strike, after securing a written agreement with Israeli prison authorities confirming his release within a month.
Awawdeh will be released on 2 October at the issue of his current administrative detention order – the second administrative order issued against him since his arrest in December last year.
The agreement provides for Awawdeh to remain in Assaf Harofeh Hospital in Israel until he recovers.
Oneg Ben Dror, Projects Coordinator in the Prisoners and Detainees department at Physicians for Human Rights Israel, tells Jerusalem24 that it is unknown how long his recovery will take, and that the healing process can entail many complications and must be followed closely.
“We just have to follow and see that it is done properly,” says Ben Dror.
Awawdeh had been on hunger strike for around six months to protest the conditions of his detention. Administrative detainees are held without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence neither they nor their lawyers are allowed to see, for periods of up to six months and indefinitely renewable.
Ahlam Haddad, Awawdeh’s lawyer, said this week that her client weighs 37 kilograms and is suffering from neurological damage. He took vitamins for two weeks in June when he thought his case was being resolved, but has otherwise only had water since the strike began in March, according to his family.
In a video circulating on social media, Awawdeh, who appeared skeletal and kept losing his breath as he spoke from a hospital bed, said he will remain hospitalized until he regains his health and can walk again.
“أول كاسة شاي بعد 172 يوماً.. الأسير خليل عواودة يعلق إضرابه بانتزاع اتفاق يقضي بتحديد سقف اعتقاله والإفراج عنه بعد شهر. pic.twitter.com/SwO6I78rGf
— شبكة قدس الإخبارية (@qudsn) August 31, 2022
Awawdeh was detained on 27 December 2021 and placed in administrative detention without charge or trial. He began an open-ended hunger strike in March, which he interrupted in June when Israeli authorities reneged on a verbal agreement to release him at the end of his current detention, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS).
Administrative detainees are held without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence neither they nor their lawyers are allowed to see, for periods of up to six months and indefinitely renewable. There are currently over 700 Palestinian administrative detainees held by Israel.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club said that the release was secured after continuous Egyptian efforts since Israel’s bombing attack on Gaza in early August. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad said they had made it a condition of their ceasefire with Israel – brokered by Egypt – that Awawdeh be released.
44-year-old Awawdeh, from the town of Idhna in the Hebron governorate, is married and a father of four children. He is a former prisoner who has spent years in Israeli prisons.