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Former hunger striker’s detention renewed days before his release

Jerusalem24 – Israel’s Magistrate Court in Rishon LeZion ruled on Wednesday for the extension of former hunger striker Khalil Awawdeh’s arbitrary detention (so-called administrative detention) until 9 October.

Awawdeh’s wife Dalal told Al-Jazeera in an interview that his imprisonment was extended on a technicality, after he attempted to take the mobile phone he had at Assaf Harofeh hospital with him to the Ramla prison clinic where he was transferred mid-September.

“We don’t know what will happen with this new case, whether it would be closed on bail, or whether he will be released, or put on trial for this new case,” said Dalal Awawdeh’s.

Awawdeh was due to be released on 2 October at the issue of his current detention order – the second order since he was detained on 27 December 2021 and placed in arbitrary detention (“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 798 Palestinian administrative detainees held by Israel.

Awawdeh suspended on 31 August his six-month hunger strike – which left his life “in immediate danger” according to the medical opinion of Dr. Lina Qasem-Hassan of Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) – after securing a written agreement with Israeli prison authorities confirming his release within a month, provided the military found no new “security” information to prolong his detention. The agreement provided for Awawdeh to remain in Assaf Harofeh Hospital in Israel until he recovers.

Awawdeh survived just under 180 days of fasting by ingesting vitamins sporadically throughout his strike.

The medical opinion submitted by PHRI both to the Israeli military and the High Court of Justice in early August assessed he was suffering “severe neurological symptoms and cognitive impairment, which might be irreversible.”

Dalal Awawdeh said she has yet to hear from her husband and is praying that he is released soon.

“We hope that it ends on bail and that he doesn’t get a new case against him, and that he is really released after this long battle.”

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 12 years in Israeli prisons since the early 2000s.

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