Palestinian detainee resumes hunger strike again after rearrest
JERUSALEM - Palestinian detainee Mohammed Allan restarted a hunger strike Wednesday after Israel reinstated his internment without trial, his lawyer said, with a previous such protest having lasted two months and brought him near death.
"He is currently on hunger strike," lawyer Jamil al-Khatib said.
Allan, said to be a member of militant group Islamic Jihad, was placed back in what is known as administrative detention after his health improved from a previous hunger strike over his internment.
"Mohammed Allan, whose condition has improved, was arrested this morning by police at the hospital in Ashkelon," police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement, adding he was transferred to the Ramla prison hospital.
His detention without trial, scheduled to last until November 4, was suspended by Israel's High Court on August 19 as he received medical treatment following his hunger strike, which twice left him in a coma.
His father Abu Mutheer Allan said that he had spoken to his son on Tuesday night and he believed he would be allowed to transfer to a hospital in Nablus, near where he is from.
"My son told me that he doesn't trust them (the Israelis) and if they break their promise to him, he will resume his hunger strike immediately," he said. It was not clear if Allan had done so.
A spokeswoman for the Israel Prison Service said she had no information on whether he was planning to renew his hunger strike or not.
Israel's internal security service Shin Bet said that given the improvement in Allan's medical condition, they had recommended his rearrest as "his release would constitute a danger to the region's peace and security".
The Shin Bet did not say whether it intended to request that Allan's detention be extended beyond November 4.
The measure under which Allan is held, known as administrative detention, allows imprisonment without trial for six-month periods renewable indefinitely.
Israeli officials say it is an essential tool in preventing attacks and protecting sensitive intelligence because it allows authorities to keep evidence secret.
Human rights groups say international law allows for such detention under extreme circumstances, but that Israel uses it as a punitive measure that circumvents the justice system or as a crutch to avoid trial.
According to Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, 370 Palestinians were being held in administrative detention at the end of June.
Three alleged Jewish extremists are also currently in administrative detention following the July 31 firebombing of a Palestinian home that killed an 18-month-old boy and his mother and father.
Many Palestinians have gone on hunger strike in protest, though few have continued as long as Allan's. His protest began on June 18 and ended on August 20.
In July, Khader Adnan was released after a 56-day hunger strike in protest against his administrative detention.
Administrative detainees are allowed to appeal to the courts, but activists say the chances of having their detainment overturned are extremely slim.
Beyond debate over administrative detention, Allan's hunger strike also raised the question of whether a controversial law passed in July allowing for the force-feeding of prisoners in certain circumstances should have been invoked.
Israeli rightwing ministers argued that judges had given in to "blackmail" in suspending Allan's administrative detention.
His hunger strike became a rallying cry for Palestinians, with pictures of him thickly bearded posted on social networks and on posters supporting his cause.
Israeli authorities allege that before his arrest in November Allan "was in contact with an Islamic Jihad terrorist" with the aim of carrying out large-scale attacks.
Islamic Jihad has said he is a member.
Allan was previously imprisoned from 2006 to 2009 for allegedly seeking to recruit suicide bombers and assisting wanted Palestinians, according to Israeli security forces.
His lawyers say he was never told of the accusations against him during his recent detainment, and his friends have described him as "religious, but not radical".