Judges Hint at Path for Release Of Palestinian Hunger Strikers

Article Summary
Israel's High Court of Justice on Monday rejected a petition by two Palestinian prisoners who have refused food for several weeks, but hinted they could be freed on conditional release if their lives are in danger. About 1,300 detainees have been conducting a hunger strike for the past 22 days, demanding improved prison conditions.  

On Monday, the High Court of Justice rejected a petition that was submitted by two prisoners held under administrative detention who have been refusing food. However, the Court "hinted" to the security services: consider releasing them on conditional bail if their lives are in danger. [Administrative detention is detainment of alleged terrorists without trying them in court.]

The two prisoners — Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Diab — petitioned the High Court of Justice with the demand to release them. One of them has not put food in his mouth for 71 days, the other, 51 days. While the Justices rejected the petition, they added the following: "In light of their [medical] conditions, we turn our attention to …. Section 7(a) of the Conditional Release Law, that enables the release of a prisoner if, due to mortal illness his life is in danger, or if due to mortal illness, his continued stay in prison poses a mortal danger [to his life]," wrote Justice [Elyakim] Rubinstein. The import of this: Rubinstein sent a message to the State that "mortal danger" to the lives of the two prisoners is grounds for release. This "recommendation," with which Justices [Yoram] Danziger and [Noam] Sohlberg concurred, may serve as grounds for conditional release of all the hunger-striking prisoners held under administrative detention.

About 1,300 administrative detainees have been conducting a hunger strike for the past 22 days, with the demand to improve their prison conditions. The Islamic Jihad called on Monday to "renew the rocket firing if a hunger-striking prisoner dies in jail." 

Found in: supreme court, palestinian security prisoners’ strike, palestinian, israel

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