GENEVA – Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties congratulates Palestinian prisoner in Israeli prisons, Maher Al-Akhras (49 years) on his freedom after 103 days of hunger strike, and condemns Israel’s decision not to release him immediately and its continued practice of administrative detention.
Prisoner Al-Akhras suspended, on Friday evening 7/11/2020, his hunger strike, after Israeli authorities agreed not to extend his “administrative detention” beyond the original end date of 26 November. Al-Akhras will spend the remaining period until his release receiving treatment in Israeli Kaplan hospital.
Al-Akhras, a father of six, was arrested on 27 July by the Israeli occupying forces from his house in the town of Silat Al-Dhahr, south of Jenin, in the northern West Bank, and immediately went on hunger strike in protest against Israel’s policy of administrative detention. On 23 September 2020, as Maher began to occasionally lose his consciousness and suffer from health implications, he was transferred to Kaplan Medical Center.
Despite the sharp deterioration in his health, Israel refused to release Al-Akhras and left him facing death, with the collaboration of the Supreme Court of Israel which has refused four petitions submitted by his lawyer to release him and transfer him for treatment in a West Bank hospital, the last of which was on October 27, 2020, before the agreement with the Israeli authorities.
Geneva Council reiterates its long-standing concerns and condemnation of Israeli intransigence in refusing to release al-Akhras and considers that it is high time for international action to end the practice of administrative detention excessively used by Israel violating human rights laws.
Israel holds about 4,500 Palestinian prisoners, of which about 350 are being held in administrative detention, without charge or trial. Israel issued 50,000 administrative detention orders against Palestinians since 1967.
GCRL warns of the Israeli authorities’ use of administrative detention as a punitive method, with the absence of any fair trial, which is in contradiction to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the protection of civilians in times of war. Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties calls for a large campaign to put pressure on Israel to stop the policy of administrative detention and release all detainees, and believes that the silence by the international community gives Israel the green light to continue a more serious pattern of violations.