11/27/2020, 10.45
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Palestinian Maher Al-Akhras freed after months on hunger strike

The 49-year-old father of six was transferred from the Tel Aviv hospital to the university clinic in Al-Najah in the West Bank. For 103 days, he refused food in protest against his detention. According to B’Tselem, as of August there are about 355 Palestinians held in administrative detention, including two minors.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Israel has freed the 49-year-old Palestinian Maher Al-Akhras, who has been on hunger strike for 103 days to protest against the administrative detention that had forced him in prison for months without any charges being laid against him.

The Palestinian Prisoner's Club reports the man's release took place yesterday afternoon when he was transferred from the Tel Aviv hospital, where he was hospitalized in poor health conditions at the university hospital of Al-Najah, in the West Bank.

In a note, the leaders of the Palestinian hospital specify that "a medical evaluation of his condition will be carried out in the next few hours". Afterwards, continues the head of the structure Dr. Karim Al-Barqawi, the doctors will decide whether to discharge him or to detain him for a few days for treatment.

Suspected of ties to Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian extremist armed group blacklisted by the US and the EU, Al-Akhras was stopped by police in July near Nablus in the northern West Bank and placed under administrative detention. He has never undergone a trial or received formal charges from the Israeli military prosecutor. A judge approved the "precautionary" arrest based on a note from the Shin Bet, the secret service, for unspecified "security reasons".

The administrative detention applied by Israel allows a suspect to be detained for long periods, even without precise charges, and it can be renewed unilaterally every six months. This measure, once applied only to Palestinian militants, now also applies to Israelis, although critics are sceptical about how to apply.

Maher Al-Akhras, father of six children, has promoted the protest after four months of detention, the provision expired just yesterday. In the past he had already been arrested several times by the police; on November 6, he announced the end of the hunger strike, having reached an "agreement" aimed at his release with the Israeli authorities.

According to data provided by the Israeli anti-occupation activist movement B'Tselem, as of August there were about 355 Palestinians detained following the administrative detention order; among these also two minors.

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