Palestinian hunger striker regains consciousness, refuses further treatment

Published August 18th, 2015 - 12:23 GMT

Hunger-striker Muhammed Allaan has regained consciousness and has communicated to hospital staff that he does not wish further treatment, Allaan's lawyer stated on Tuesday.

Allaan, who has been on hunger strike for 65 days, was taken off of a respirator earlier this morning, and his condition has steadily improved. According to hospital statements, Allaan will continue to receive "essential medical treatments," although he is expected to tell doctors whether or not he wants to continue to receive treatment, or would prefer to die.

Allaan's brother, Amid, said he rejected the court's proposal to have Allan be released and exiled from the country, he said in an interview with Army Radio. "They gave him the offer to remain in the Israeli hospital to die or remain in Israeli prison without reason, or to be exiled. They took him to jail without reason and without trial. He began his hunger-strike and is slowly dying, and last week it was clear to the hospital that he will die."

The High Court of Justice made an interim ruling on Monday that the administrative detention of Allaan was legal, although it ordered that a review of his health status take place on Wednesday.

The State Attorney’s Office said earlier on Monday that it was willing to consider releasing him if he agreed to be deported for four years.

Administrative detention is highly controversial because it bypasses standard judicial proceedings in favor of streamlined proceedings with fewer procedural safeguards. Israel says it often is necessary in circumstances dealing with dangerous terrorists, where the evidence against them cannot be revealed in open court.

MK Yousef Jabareen (Hadash), who was present at Monday’s High Court hearing, said there would be an increase in protest activities by the country’s Arab community if the court rejected the petition.

“If the danger of his release is that he could still give orders and guidance to people, as the state argued, he could do the same from abroad,” Jabareen, who holds a PhD in civil rights law, said. “The state is punishing Allan for his heroic struggle against his draconian administrative detention.”

The state’s offer to allow Allaan to go abroad “reveals the true face of the government’s position,” he continued. “If Allan is still dangerous, why is the state willing to allow him to go abroad? It is imperative to release Allaan to save his life.”

The Hadash MK argued that it was a legal and moral issue for Israel to release him.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said on Sunday that if Israel were to release Allaan because of his poor health, it would “lead to a mass hunger strike among security prisoners and [the creation of] a new weapon for terrorists.” He called the request to release Allan “a strange petition that seeks to free him because of his medical condition when he himself caused that medical condition.”

The Barzilai Medical Center did not comment on Monday, but Dr. Daniel Ya’acobson, one of its intensive care physicians, told the court the hospital would not treat the prisoner against his will and that if he woke up and asked to halt the treatment and resume his hunger strike, “we will stop, and he is liable to die within a short time.”

Security forces are closely monitoring his condition as they fear his death may ignite a wave of rioting in Palestinian areas and among prisoners inside of Israeli jails. On Friday, Palestinian sources reported that prisons in Israel were under lock down for fear of riots.

The Palestinian Prisoners' Committee said on Friday that several prisons, such as the Ramon prison and the Nafha and Eshel prisons in the south have decided to go on lockdown fearing disturbances by other prisoners in the event that Allaan's condition worsens. According to the PPC, for the first time special units of the Israel Prisons Service are equipped with live ammunition to handle disturbances.

Riots broke out at Shikma prison near Ashkelon on Friday morning which were brought under control. Backup IPS forces were called into the prison.

By Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ariel Ben Solomon

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