Israeli high court suspends detention of Palestinian hunger striker

Exile offered to Palestinian detainee on hunger strike
Exile offered to Palestinian detainee on hunger strike

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Story highlights

  • Allan ends his partial hunger strike, a lawmaker says, citing the 31-year-old's family
  • Allan stopped eating in June, months after being arrested on suspicion of terror involvement
  • He is being held in intensive care at a hospital in Ashkelon

Jerusalem (CNN)Israel's Supreme Court has suspended the administrative detention of Mohammed Allan, after his lawyer contended that the Palestinian prisoner had suffered brain damage as a result of the partial hunger strike he's been on since mid-June.

The court recommended that Allan remain in intensive care at Barzilai Medical Center.
    Following the decision, the 31-year-old Allan called off his hunger strike following the decision, said Ahmad Tibi, an Arab member of the Knesset who heard from Allan's family.
    Allan has been in administrative detention -- an Israeli policy in which a person can be held in custody without being formally charged or put on trial -- since November 2014 on suspicion that he was involved in terrorism and belonged to the militant group, the Islamic Jihad.
    His attorney and family both deny that these suspicions are valid. In protest, Allan -- himself a lawyer -- began his hunger strike two months ago, drinking only water.
    He was put in a medically induced coma at one point, though he regained consciousness on Tuesday, according to a spokeswoman at Barzilai Medical Center. Doctors stopped giving anesthesia and took Allan off a respirator, said the spokeswoman.
    With the court's decision, Allan's lawyer Sawsan Zaher said, "His parents can now visit him as a patient and not as a prisoner."

    Case shined spotlight on Israeli force-feeding law

    Addameer, a Palestinian prisoner advocacy group, says more than 400 Palestinians are being held under administrative detention, and hunger strikes have been a common way to protest the detentions.
    Whatever their status, more than 1,000 prisoners have gone on hunger strikes over the past several years, according to the Israeli Medical Association.
    Allan's refusal to eat, specifically, put a spotlight on Israel's new force-feeding law.
    This law, passed in July by the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, allows the government to force-feed hunger strikers if their lives are in danger.
    The new law has been criticized both inside and outside the country.
    The United Nations has called the law a "cause for concern." And the Israeli Medical Association has called force-feeding "equivalent to torture," urging Israeli doctors not to comply.
    Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations have also called force-feeding a form of torture.

    Medically induced coma

    Allan was initially held in a hospital in Beer Sheba, but was moved after doctors there refused to force-feed him.
    His new hospital, in Ashkelon, also refused to force-feed him, but it gave him water, salts and vitamins through an IV after he had a seizure and lost consciousness last weekend on the 60th day of his hunger strike. Doctors put him in a medically induced coma to stabilize his condition.
    Almost every day, Palestinians have held solidarity protests outside the hospital in Ashkelon. There have been additional protests in Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.
    Allan's mother was last allowed to visit him Friday, said his lawyer, Jamil al-Khateeb. Hani Abdeen, a Palestinian doctor, was not allowed to examine Allan in the intensive care unit, al-Khateeb said, even after getting permission from the hospital's director and the prison authority.
    Abdeen was, however, allowed to see Allan's medical records, al-Khateeb said.