Palestinian Hunger Striker Seeks Supreme Court Appeal to Remove Restraints

A lower court denied Bilal Kayed's request to uncuff him from his hospital bed and see a doctor of his choice.

People protest the detention of Bilal Kayed outside of the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, where he is held, August 9, 2016.
Ilan Assayag

Physicians for Human Rights on Wednesday asked for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court after a lower court rejected a petition by a hunger-striking administrative detainee to be released from his restraints and be examined by a doctor of his choice.

Bilal Kayed, 35, who has been on a hunger strike for 64 days, is hospitalized at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, where he is handcuffed to his bed. He launched his hunger strike in June upon being put into administrative detention for six months, just as he was to about to be released after serving a 14-and-a-half year sentence for a number security offenses and for leading a strike in prison. He had petitioned the Be’er Sheva Administrative Court to have his restraints removed and be examined by an independent doctor. The request was refused by the court.

Attorney Tamir Blank, who is representing Kayed, condemned the court’s refusal to remove Kayed’s restraints. “One can draw all kinds of imaginary scenarios When a court rules that one must tie a person’s hands and feet to his bed, it is also meant to use some judgment and logic and balance between the probability of some scenario and the clear and certain violation of his rights. It seems that in this case, the court did not exercise judicial oversight or any critique at all over the Israel Prison Service’s statements.”

“To realize his right to a second [medical] opinion was rejected for reasons that cannot be described as anything but baffling and not even remotely consistent with the law,” Blank added. “It’s not just that the court didn’t see any problem with the decisions of the prison service, but these decisions got the full backing of the court, with an explanation that was in part not even based on the prison service’s position.”

Blank also denied the court’s statement that the petition was filed for ulterior motives. “Unfortunately, the ones with the ulterior motives is the prison service, which wants to rule out the possibility of a second opinion instead of promoting the health of prisoners while observing detention regulations.”

Kayed, from the village of Asira Shamaliya, north of Nablus, was arrested in 2002 during the second intifada for being a member of the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He was sentenced to 14 years for being involved in terror attacks and attempted attacks.