As of 4 November 2021, two of the six Palestinian detainees on hunger strike have surpassed 100 days on strike, in critical condition and facing an increasingly imminent threat to life as they protest their continued detention without trial or charge. The longest-running striker, Kayed Fasous, 32 years old, entered his 113th hunger strike, whereas Miqdad Al-Qawasameh, a 24-year-old university student, completes 106 days. They are joined by Alaa Al-Araj, 34 years old and father of one, on strike for over 89 days, Hisham Abu Hawash, 39 years old and father of four, reaching 80 days, Ayyad Hraimi, 28 years old, who has since completed 48 days, and Louay Al-Ashqar, 45 years old, who has entered day 25 of hunger strike.
Currently, Kayed Fasous and Miqdad Al-Qawasameh are held in Israeli hospitals due to the gravity of their conditions. Both have suffered from immense weight loss and severity of symptoms, including constant pain, extreme vitamin deficiency, abnormally low heart rates, trouble speaking, and minimal mobility, among other symptoms. The extreme deterioration of their health, as a result of their strike, places them at an imminent threat to life, which increases with every passing hour. Beyond potential death, they face the additionally violent threat of force-feeding by Israeli health administrators, amounting to the act of torture or cruel, degrading, and inhuman treatment, and even arising, in past cases, to the death of hunger strikers.
Despite the severity of their health conditions, the Israeli High Court refused to revoke their administrative detention orders, instead choosing to “freeze” them for Miqdad Al-Qawasameh and Kayed Fasous on 7 October and 14 October. Notably, the decision to “freeze” the administrative detention order does not in any way cancel the order or eliminate the risk of renewing it or even proceeding with the remaining duration afterward. Instead, they are attempts to break the detainees’ ongoing open hunger strike, in addition to circumventing their right to legitimately defend themselves while maintaining the legitimacy of the administrative detention orders and “secret” evidence against them. That being said, on 29 October 2021, the Israeli occupation reactivated Kayed’s administrative detention order for six months, despite his ongoing hunger strikes and critical health conditions.
Notably, Louay Al-Ashqar was arrested on 5 October 2021, following the Israeli military commander issuing a six-month administrative detention order against him. In total, Louay has been imprisoned for eight years, between administrative detention and arrest following a list of charges. During his arrest in 2005, he was subjected to severe torture in Al-Jalameh interrogation center, which resulted in partial paralysis. In the same vein, Ayyad Hraimi has been detained by the Israeli occupation in total for nine years; his most recent arrest was in April 2021, following a six-month administrative detention order. He was also previously arrested in 2016 under administrative detention, where he completed 45 days of hunger strike protesting his continuous detention without trial or charge. Further, on 25 October 2021, the Israeli military commander issued a renewal of the administrative detention order against Hisham Abu Hawash for an additional six months. In a hearing on 28 October 2021, the Israeli military court postponed the confirmation session for 3 November 2021.
Earlier on 21 October 2021, UN experts strongly condemned Israeli practices of administrative detention, in violation of international law, which continue to hold “more than 500 Palestinians – including six children – without charges, without trials, without convictions,” indefinitely, based on “secret” evidence inaccessible to detainees or their lawyers. Expressing “grave fear” for the lives of the hunger-striking Palestinian detainees, UN experts called on Israeli occupation authorities to “release or charge” them and end its “unlawful practice of administrative detention,” emphasizing their arbitrary nature “which is strictly prohibited under international law, including international humanitarian law.” The arbitrary detention of children, they note, “is particularly abhorrent, violating minimum standards established by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
Notably, Shadi Abu Akar, 37 years old and father of two, ended his hunger strike on 27 October 2021 after 64 days of hunger strike protesting his ongoing arbitrary detention without charge or trial since October 2020. His decision was made following Ofer military court’s confirmation of his third administrative detention order for its entire period, six months.
Addameer stresses the gravity of the situation, as the threat to life becomes increasingly imminent by the hour. To this end, Addameer calls upon their immediate and unconditional release, along with the release of all administrative detainees and the end to the Israeli occupation’s systematic practice of administrative detention.