Palestinian Hunger Striker Returns to the West Bank After Release From Israeli Hospital

Maher Akhras, who ended a 103-day-long hunger strike following a High Court ruling, says 'Palestinian people can't wait for anyone else to end our oppression'

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Akhras during his hunger strike in Rehovot's Kaplan Hospital, September 2020.
Akhras during his hunger strike in Rehovot's Kaplan Hospital, September 2020.Credit: Moti Milrod

A Palestinian administrative detainee, who in early November ended a 103-day-long hunger strike, was discharged on Thursday from an Israeli hospital and has returned to the West Bank.

The hunger strike and subsequent decline in Maher Akhras's health drew international attention to his imprisonment without trial by Israeli authorities.

"I secured my freedom by embarking on a long, drawn out hunger strike," Akhras said upon leaving the Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot. "The strike proved that the Palestinian people need to fight for their rights and liberty, and we can't wait for anyone else to end our oppression."

49-year-old Akhras is set to return to his home in the West Bank town of Silat ad-Dhahr after final medical examinations at a Nablus hospital.

He was issued a four-month administrative detention order on August 7 over accusations of being a prominent member of Gaza-based terror group Islamic Jihad, which he has denied.

Akhras outside the Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot after his release on November 26, 2020.

Akhras ended his hunger strike, in protest of his detention without trial, on November 6.

His release follows a High Court of Justice ruling in October that if Akhras ended his hunger strike, his administrative detention would not be renewed upon its expiration on Thursday. This ruling follows the High Court's decision to deny two previous petitions which called for Akhras's release.

Administrative detention involves no indictment, no revelation of confidential evidence, and no trial or judgment of the accusations against the prisoner. Not even Akhras’ lawyers can see the full range of evidence and suspicions against her client, and these can be renewed every few months indefinitely.

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