Hisham Abu Hawwash, who was detained without charge or trial, to end a 141-day hunger strike after reaching an agreement with Israel to be released on February 26.
A Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike for 141 days and was detained without charge has agreed to end his detention after reaching an agreement with Israel to be released next month, his lawyer said.
Hisham Abu Hawwash, a 40-year-old father of five, is the youngest of several Palestinians who went on a hunger strike to protest being held under “administrative detention”, a measure in which a prisoner is being held indefinitely without charge or trial.
Administrative detainees are arrested on “secret evidence”, unaware of the charges against them, and are not allowed to defend themselves in court.
Abu Hawwash’s lawyer, Jawad Boulos, said on Tuesday he had agreed to end the hunger strike after Israel promised to release him on February 26. There were no immediate comments from Israeli officials.
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Palestinians rallied across the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip in support of Abu Hawwash. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad threatened military action against Israel if he died in custody.
Prison groups have warned that Abu Hawwash is facing “imminent danger”.
Abu Hawwash is the youngest of several inmates who have refused food and water in recent weeks to protest their detention. Hunger strikers are usually hospitalized for long periods until Israeli authorities agree to their release.
Like many before him, Abu Hawwash was admitted to hospital last month. During the last few days, he slipped in and out of a coma, temporarily losing his sight and his ability to speak, according to local media reports.
Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim, who reports on Ramallah, said there were “many fears” about Abu Hawwash’s life and that his wife and lawyer were in the hospital with him on Tuesday night.
His hunger strike was the longest since an eight-month hunger strike launched by freed prisoner Samer Issawi that ended in 2013.
“His life in danger”
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club said Israel had recently intensified its use of administrative detention, and therefore there was an increase in the number of prisoners launching hunger strikes in an effort to curb the measure that denies individuals the right to due process.
The group also said that more than 1,600 orders of administrative detention against Palestinian prisoners had been issued in 2021 alone.
According to the Addameer Prisoners’ Rights Group, at least 500 administrative prisoners have been detained across Israeli prisons and detention facilities to date.
Milena Ansari, Prison Support Advocate of Lake Addame, welcomed the announcement that Abu Hawwash would be released.
“This is excellent news,” Ramarah’s Ansari told Al Jazeera. “[But] not being released immediately is not fair… as there is no charge, ”she said.
The development comes as Palestinian detainees detained without charge announced boycott of Israeli military courts.
This is to “emphasize the ridicule of the trials that are taking place… without any charges or any guarantees for a fair trial,” Ansari said.
Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanou – the group that governs Gaza – said a “new victory” had been achieved by Abu Hawwash, “confirming the ability of our people and our detainees to fight any occupation they wage,” to win ”.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric welcomed the agreement reached with Abu Hawwash.
“We have always made it clear that detainees must be tried or released according to legal procedures,” Dujarric said.
The 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank are subject to Israeli military courts, while Jewish settlers living in illegal settlements and outposts are citizens subject to Israel’s civil justice system.
Israel conquered the West Bank in the 1967 war, but Palestinian leaders want it to form the bulk of their future state.