Palestinian hunger striker ends fast, condition improves

Published August 20th, 2015 - 04:35 GMT
Palestinian protesters hold portraits of Mohammed Allaan, who ended his hunger strike on Thursday after more than two months of fasting. (AFP/File)
Palestinian protesters hold portraits of Mohammed Allaan, who ended his hunger strike on Thursday after more than two months of fasting. (AFP/File)

Palestinian detainee Mohammed Allaan ended a two-month hunger strike Thursday that had put his life at risk and sparked intense debate over his detention without trial by Israeli authorities, his lawyer said.

Doctors said Allaan’s condition had begun to improve after he was brought out of a coma several days earlier, as he took food for the first time in 65 days.

“Mohammad Allaan regained consciousness and is not on hunger strike,” Jamil al-Khatib told journalists of his 31-year-old client after Israel’s top court late Wednesday temporarily lifted his detention without trial.

Khatib spoke after visiting Allaan in the hospital in Ashkelon and said his health was improving, though he remained bedridden. He was receiving vitamins and minerals intravenously.

“He is in a good health condition and can communicate with others,” Khatib said. “He can’t eat food in his mouth because it needs a while. Now he is drinking water and it will be gradual, and I imagine this will be next week.”

Islamic Jihad says that Allaan, a lawyer from the West Bank, is a member of the Palestinian militant movement, as does Israel.

Israeli doctor Hezy Levy earlier in the day said Allaan was showing “great improvement” and that he was taken off a respirator. He said that Allaan was “on the right path.”

On Wednesday, the High Court of Justice ruled that Allaan’s administrative detention had to be suspended effective immediately after hearing the opinion of a doctor who said it was too early to predict whether Allaan’s cognitive abilities would be restored if he ended his fast or whether he had already suffered irreversible brain damage.

“Due to his medical condition at present he does not constitute a threat,” justices ruled.

Immediately after the ruling, Allaan’s family announced that his hunger strike was over and he can be also fed as part of his medical treatment, which until then included only liquids and salts administered intravenously.

But his situation then deteriorated again and he was put in an induced coma.

The justices ruled that if it is determined that Allaan has suffered brain damage, his administrative detention will be immediately lifted. They stated that administrative detention, an arrest without trial or need to show evidence of criminal intent, was “a tough default choice,” but maintained that the detention was justified and there was no room to intervene in the military court’s decision to arrest Allaan.

Associates of Allaan are considering asking a court to transfer him to a hospital in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv for the duration of his treatment, Channel 2 reported.

Allaan has been treated at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon since he lost consciousness over the weekend.

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