Israel Freezes Detention of Palestinian Hunger Striker as Long as He's Hospitalized

Islamic Jihad operative Khalil Awawdeh has been on a hunger strike since the start of July to protest his detention

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Family members of Khalil Awawdeh at the family house in Hebron, last week
Family members of Khalil Awawdeh at the family house in Hebron, last weekCredit: AP/Nasser Nasser

The Israeli army's Central Command froze on Friday Islamic Jihad operative Khalil Awawdeh's administrative detention's since his life is in immediate danger. However, if Awawdeh leaves the hospital, he would be again held in detention.

Awawdeh is no longer under watch and can see visitors, but he's not allowed to leave the hospital. His attorney, Ahlam Haddad, later said that he would not end his hunger strike until he's completely freed from detention.

Earlier on Friday, Haddad petitioned Israel's High Court of Justice to have Awawdeh released from administrative arrest, as his condition deteriorated after 170 days on hunger strike.

In the petition, Haddad asked the court to issue an order requiring the state to explain why it won’t release Awawdeh, who is held without charges, and to provide complete information on his client's medical condition.

Awawdeh has been on a hunger strike since the start of July to protest his detention. He was admitted to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center on August 11, where he is being held in leg restraints while undergoing treatment to keep him alive.

The petition claims that all the doctors who have examined Awawdeh, including those from the Prison Service and the hospital, agree that his condition is life-threatening – with three doctors affiliated with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel saying his life is in immediate danger. He has also been deemed at risk of permanent neurological damage.

Awawdeh made headlines this month when Islamic Jihad demanded his release during indirect cease-fire negotiations with Israel.

The hunger strike is the second Awawdeh has undertaken since his arrest, according to the petition. Awawadeh ended the first strike, which lasted from March to June, after being promised he would be released. He began the current strike after his administrative detention was extended.

Haddad asserted in the petition that because Awawdeh no longer poses a public threat due to his condition and was detained only as a preventative measure – he should be released immediately.

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