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Four Palestinian hunger strikers in critical condition



In this file photo Palestinian prisoners walk at the yard of the Israeli prison of Megiddo. ©AFP

A rights groups has warned against the deteriorating health condition of four Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in protest at their administrative detention in Israeli jails.

In a Saturday statement, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs (PCPA) identified the quartet as brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul, who have been on strike for 51 and 53 days respectively, plus Ayyad al-Hreimi and Malek al-Qadi, who have both been refusing food for more than 40 days.

The PCPA added that the hunger strikers are in “dire health conditions,” as they have lost a significant amount of weight and have been suffering from pains and numbing in their bodies.

The committee further demanded popular, legal and political efforts to help save the prisoners’ lives.

It went on to say that 120 Palestinian prisoners are still carrying on with their hunger strikes in support of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) member Bilal Kayid, who suspended his 71-day strike last Wednesday.

Palestinian protestors hold posters during a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed (portraits) on August 24, 2016. ©AFP

The PCPA added that Israeli authorities continue to impose punishments on the prisoners, including group confinement, bans on family visits as well as cash fines.

The fresh wave of hunger strikes come in opposition to Israeli authorities’ decision on June 14 to extend Kayed’s administrative detention for six more months without charge or trial.

The verdict was passed on the day the PFLP member was expected to be released after spending 14 and a half years of imprisonment. Kayed was arrested in 2001.

There are reportedly more than 6,500 Palestinians held at Israeli jails.

Hundreds of the inmates have apparently been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, which is a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention facilities without trial or charge.

Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to eleven years.

The Palestinian inmates regularly hold hunger strikes in protest at the administrative detention policy and their harsh prison conditions.

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