High Court orders temporary release of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner

Julie Wiener

(JTA) — Mohaamad Allaan, the Palestinian prisoner and alleged Islamic Jihad member whose months-long hunger strike has drawn international attention, will be temporarily released from administrative detention.

The High Court of Justice ruled Wednesday that Allaan, 33, would remain in the Israeli hospital where he is in critical condition and that his relatives and friends will be able to visit him as a patient, rather than as a detainee, Haaretz reported.

Allaan has been held by Israel without charges since November.

The court ruling suspends Allaan’s administrative detention while he is receiving medical treatment. Hours before the court ruling, doctors said that Allaan has suffered irreversible brain damage as a result of his hunger strike, and the Israeli government said it would release Allaan if his medical condition deteriorates to the point that he is permanently incapacitated.

Medical officials said Allaan’s cognitive abilities declined dramatically on Wednesday and that he was confused, incoherent and unable to make decisions. Allaan’s attorney tried to communicate with him Wednesday but was unsuccessful because of his poor condition.

On Monday, Israel said it would free Allaan if he agreed to leave the country for four years, but his lawyer rejected the offer.

Allaan’s case spurred Israeli lawmakers to pass a law last month legalizing the force-feeding of prisoners. The Israeli Medical Association has announced that it plans to challenge the law in the Supreme Court and has urged physicians not to comply with it.

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