Palestinian hunger-striker goes month without food

By Anees Bargouthi

RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) – Palestinian political prisoner Bilal Kayed entered his 31st day on hunger strike Friday to protest his ongoing “administrative detention” in Israel, according to a Palestinian official.

“Kayed, 35, has now entered his 31st day on hunger strike,” Issa Qaraqe, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s committee for prisoners’ affairs, told Anadolu Agency by telephone on Friday.

“He is refusing to undergo any medical examinations or take any vitamins or salt supplements,” he added.

Qaraqe went on to say that Kayed had lost some 30 kilograms since beginning his hunger strike a month ago.

“His health is rapidly deteriorating,” the official said. “He was taken to hospital two times this week due to kidney failure.”

Kayed was arrested by the Israeli authorities in 2002 and sentenced to 14-and-a-half years in prison after being convicted of being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

He was slated for release on June 13 of this year, but the Israeli authorities — citing “secret evidence” — extended his detention for a further six months.

Under Israel’s “administrative detention” policy, prisoners can be held for up to one year without charge or trial.

Over 7,000 Palestinians are currently languishing in Israeli prisons, roughly 700 of whom are held in administrative detention, according to official Palestinian figures.