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Palestinian prisoner ends 44-day hunger strike

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 29, 2012 -- Updated 2255 GMT (0655 HKT)
Israeli troops try to disperse Palestinians demonstrating outside a prison near Ramallah in support of Hana Shalabi.
Israeli troops try to disperse Palestinians demonstrating outside a prison near Ramallah in support of Hana Shalabi.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hana Shalabi was protesting her administrative detention
  • Such detention allows authorities to hold people indefinitely
  • Shalabi was held by Israel for alleged terrorist activity
  • Lawyer: She accepted a deal for deportation to Gaza

Jerusalem (CNN) -- A Palestinian woman held by Israel for alleged terrorist activity ended her 44-day hunger strike Thursday after agreeing to be deported to Gaza, her lawyer said.

Hana Shalabi was taken into Israeli military detention a month ago after the Israeli military said it had intelligence reports that she had resumed terrorist activity. She began the hunger strike to protest her detention, her attorneys said, and she was transferred to an Israeli military hospital as her condition deteriorated.

Shalabi attorney Jawad Bulos told CNN her decision to accept deportation was her own.

"This is a decision she took, and we respect her for that, but we are against it and don't support it because we don't agree with the Israeli policy of deportation and the principle to do that," Bulos said.

Shalabi agreed to be deported to Gaza for three years, after which she will have the option of returning to her home in the West Bank, Bulos said.

Shalabi was protesting "administrative detention," a controversial practice that allows the authorities to detain people indefinitely.

Addameer, a Palestinian group supporting Palestinian political prisoners, says such detention allows military commanders to detain people for as long as six months if they have concerns for public security, but the detention order can be indefinitely renewed.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told CNN that a court ruled Shalabi presented a danger.

"She is an activist in Islamic Jihad, an extreme terrorist organization, and the judges ruled that incarceration can continue," Regev said last week.

Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed militant group, has been blamed for suicide bombings in Israel that have killed dozens. Both the United States and the European Union consider the group a terrorist organization.

The Israeli military said military courts approved Shalabi's detention "on the grounds that there was current and reliable information that Shalabi posed a specific and concrete threat, and that there was no alternative criminal procedure available to address this threat."

Her attorneys said Shalabi told them she was beaten, abused, blindfolded and interrogated, and placed in solitary confinement for the first week of her arrest.

Bulos said last week that Shalabi was in the prison ward by herself, drinking only water, and that authorities told her "she is not like Khader Adnan and no one will hear her case."

Khader Adnan is a Palestinian detainee who ended his 66-day hunger strike in February after the Israeli government said his sentence had been commuted and would not be renewed. He was told he would be freed in April "as long as no new significant material was presented against him," Israel's justice minister said last month.

The Palestinian Authority had called for Shalabi's release and for international intervention in the case.

Shalabi previously spent two years in administrative detention before being released in October 2011. She was among more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli jails in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

CNN's Kareem Khadder contributed to this report.

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