Palestinian Maher al Akhras began a hunger strike 79 days ago against his detention without charge by Israel. Human rights groups say Israeli administrative detention violates the right to due process.
Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups have voiced concern over the condition of a Palestinian who began a hunger strike 79 days ago against his detention without charge by Israel.
Maher al Akhras, 49, is now in an Israeli hospital suffering from heart pain and convulsions and has slipped occasionally into a coma, his wife said on Tuesday.
A resident of the city of Jenin in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Akhras was taken into custody in July under an Israeli "administrative detention" order.
Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency said Akhras was detained after it received information that he was an operative of the Islamic Jihad group, an allegation his wife denied.
He was moved three weeks ago to Kaplan hospital in the Israeli city of Rehovot, where he has been drinking water but refusing solid food, according to his family.
His wife said Akhras knows his life is in danger. “He says this is the only way he can achieve justice,” she said.
Calls for immediate release
At the hospital, Akhras's wife Taghreed told Reuters that he would continue the hunger strike for his immediate release despite a decision on Monday by Israel's Supreme Court not to extend his four-month detention term beyond November 26.
"The responsibility for what happens next lies with those who can prevent his further deterioration and even death," the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, which is monitoring the case, said in statement. "They can still stop this from happening."
Ahkras's wife said her husband, too weak to leave his bed, was not handcuffed in the hospital, and there were no guards visible near his room.
The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights called on international rights groups to intervene immediately to "save the life of Akhras before it is too late."
Detention without trial
There are around 5,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails, 350 of them under administrative detention, Palestinian officials said.
Israeli officials say detention without trial is sometimes necessary to protect the identities of undercover operatives.
Qadoura Fares, the head of the Palestinian prisoners’ association, said: “Administrative detention is a crime and should end. We hold Israel fully responsible for his life and call for his immediate release.”
In Gaza, activists linked to Islamic Jihad said they had resumed launching incendiary balloons into Israel. A poster with Akhras's picture and the words "our patience is running out" were attached.