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Palestinian prisoner risks 'clinical death' as he enters 110th day of hunger strike

Kayed al-Fasfous’ health deteriorates as he continues to protest against his administrative detention by Israel
Palestinians with banners of Kayed al-Fasfous and Miqdad al-Qawasmi call for the release of prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, 24 October 2021 (AFP)

A Palestinian political prisoner who has been on a hunger strike for over 100 days in a protest against his administrative detention by Israel is at risk of "clinical death", according to his family.

Kayed al-Fasfous has abstained from food for the past 112 days, with his health condition severely deteriorating in the past 48 hours, his brother Khaled said.

The family said that Fasfous is facing "clinical death" after losing feeling in his lower body and spiking a high fever. He has been hospitalised at Barzilai Medical Centre in Ashkelon, southern Israel, and is being watched by security guards.

Fasfous has been steadfast about not taking supplements and has refused medical examination, including the installation of a heart rate monitor, by the Israeli hospital staff, in defiance of his continued administrative detention.

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Administrative detentions, a highly controversial policy used by Israel almost exclusively against Palestinians, allow for detention without charge or trial for renewable periods of three to six months, without the possibility of appeal or of knowing what accusations are being levelled against the detainee.

Many Palestinian prisoners have resorted to hunger strikes to protest against the policy.

Israel: Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike against detention reaches 100 days
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According to Khaled, Fasfous was recently transferred into a smaller, windowless and unhygienic hospital room. 

Other hunger strikers

On Friday, Israel sentenced Fasfous to a new six-month administrative detention.

Fasfous, a bodybuilding champion and avid sportsman, has lost 40 kilograms in weight since he launched his hunger strike on 15 July. The 32-year-old is from Dura village near Hebron, the most populated Palestinian district in the south of the occupied West Bank.

There are 4,600 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, 500 of them serving administrative detentions.

Miqdad al-Qawasmi, a 24-year-old Palestinian from Hebron city, has also been on a hunger strike for 105 days, protesting against his administrative detention.

Rights groups warned that Qawasmi risks imminent death and called for his immediate release after he was admitted to the intensive care unit in Kaplan Medical Centre in Rehovot, following a deterioration in his health in October. Qawasmi is suffering from physical pain, fatigue and emaciation.

Other Palestinian prisoners who have launched hunger strikes against their administrative detentions are: Alaa al-Araj, 87 days; Hisham Abu Hawash, 78 days; Shadi Abu-Aker, 71 days; and Ayad al-Harimi, 42 days.

Louay al-Ashqar and Ratib Hreibat have been on a hunger strike in solidarity with other prisoners for 24 and 26 days respectively.

Since its illegal military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip during the 1967 Six Day war, Israel has arrested almost one million Palestinians and locked up 54,000 as administrative prisoners for extended periods of time, without charge or trial.

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