Israel Cuts Detention of Female Palestinian Hunger Striker

Hana Shalabi, a member of the Islamic Jihad, stopped taking food after Israeli troops seized her in the West Bank on Feb. 16, becoming the second recent Palestinian detainee to go on hunger strike.

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Israel reduced the detention period of a Palestinian woman on hunger strike by a third after being arrested last month, but her lawyer said it was not yet clear whether she would break her fast.

Hana Shalabi, a member of the Islamic Jihad militant group, stopped taking food after Israeli troops seized her in the West Bank on Feb. 16, becoming the second Palestinian detainee in quick succession to resort to a hunger strike.

Badeeah Shalabi holds a placard depicting her daughter, Palestinian detainee Hana Shalabi, in the West Bank village of Birqin, near Jenin February 27, 2012.Credit: Reuters

An Israeli military court reduced Shalabi's original detention of 6 months to 4 months, a spokesman said.

Shalabi's lawyer, Fadi Qawasmi, said the court would review evidence gathered by Israel's security services indicating she had been planning attacks, and could extend the detention.

"Tomorrow she will be informed of this latest development and we will find out if she will continue her hunger strike or not," Qawasmi told Reuters.

Israel had previously held Shalabi for 25 months in so-called "administrative detention" but released her in October under a prisoner swap with the Islamist militant group Hamas.

Shalabi's father, Yehia, said since the exchange his daughter had not been active in Islamic Jihad.

Israel struck a deal last month with Khader Adnan, another Islamic Jihad member, persuading him to end his 66-day fast after assuring him that he would be released in April from his detention without trial.

Human rights groups have condemned Israel's detention without trial of some 300 Palestinians. Israeli authorities say the procedure is used in some security-related cases and helps to protect confidential sources from exposure in court.



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