Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner falls into coma

Gabe Friedman

(JTA)—A hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner has lost consciousness in an Israeli jail.

Mohammed Allaan, who was arrested in November 2014 on the suspicion that he was a member of the terrorist group Islamic Jihad, has been on a hunger strike for 60 days dating back to June to protest being held without an official charge. According to the Times of Israel, he is being held at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon after being transferred from Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, where an ethics committee did not allow doctors to force-feed him.

The Knesset passed a law on July 30 allowing the force-feeding of prisoners. Israeli doctors have said the practice is unethical and that they would refuse to carry it out.

Allaan has been held in administrative detention, meaning that his incarceration period is indefinite and authorities do not require a specific charge to arrest him. Administrative detention detainees can appeal their sentence in the High Court of Justice but do not have access to the evidence against them. Israel currently imprisons hundreds of Palestinians under administrative detention, a tactic used to deter terrorism. In the aftermath of a fatal firebombing attack that killed a Palestinian toddler and his father, Israel has begun putting suspected Jewish terrorists under administrative detention as well.

Arab Joint list lawmaker Hanin Zoabi is reportedly on her way to visit with Allaan as his condition worsens. Al Jazeera reported that Allaan’s mother and a few activists are with him in the hospital as well.

The Red Cross warned last week that Allaan’s life is in immediate danger. He is on a respiratory support system and is being injected with essential nutrients in an effort to keep him alive without feeding him.

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