Palestinian hunger striker has suffered brain damage
A Palestinian youth stands behind a wall sprayed with graffiti in Gaza City depicting 31-year-old Muhammad Allaan. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)
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Palestinian hunger striker Muhammad Allaan has suffered brain damage due to a lack of nutrients following two months of protest action against his detention without trial, Israel's Barzilai hospital said Wednesday.
Hospital administrator Dr. Hezi Levy told reporters that an MRI scan revealed that Allaan had suffered brain damage, likely caused by a lack of vitamins following over two months on hunger strike.
It is unclear if the damage is irreversible or whether Allaan could return to full brain functioning after several weeks or months.
Earlier, Israel's High Court began a hearing on whether to release him due to his health.
The proceedings were being held in secret in order to discuss his medical condition and security files, but Israeli media reported that the court ruled Allaan could be released if he had suffered irreversible brain damage.
The head of the Palestinian Prisoner's Society, Qadura Fares, said that Allaan was no longer able to communicate.
The hunger striker regained consciousness on Tuesday after being in a coma more than four days, but pledged to resume fasting if Israel did not resolve his case within 24 hours, the prisoner's society said.
Doctors had put him on a respirator and treated him with fluids and vitamins after he lost consciousness.
Allaan, who has been held in Israeli custody since last November, went on hunger strike to protest his administrative detention.
Allaan's protest has raised questions over whether Israel will seek to invoke a law passed last month allowing prisoners to be force-fed when their lives are in danger.
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