A Palestinian administrative detainee, Ghadanfar Abu Atwan, 27, was released on Friday, July 9, after a 65-day hunger strike to protest his imprisonment. Since June 16, Abu Atwan had been drinking water only once every few days and after he would pass out. About three weeks ago, he was transferred from an Israel Prison Service clinic in Ramle to Kaplan Hospital near Rehovo·t due to his deteriorating condition.
Abu Atwan began an open-ended hunger strike on May 5, while being held in Ramon prison in the Negev, in reprisal for which authorities transferred him to solitary confinement for 14 days, and later subjected to physical assault, beatings, and injuries without any regard to his medical condition. Since then, his medical condition rapidly deteriorated, requiring urgent medical intervention.
Administrative detention is incarceration without trial or charge, alleging that a person plans to commit a future offense. It has no time limit, and the evidence on which it is based is not disclosed. Israel employs this measure extensively and routinely, and has used it to hold thousands of Palestinians for lengthy periods of time. While detention orders are formally reviewed, this is merely a semblance of judicial oversight, as detainees cannot reasonably mount a defense against undisclosed allegations. Nevertheless, courts uphold the vast majority of orders.
According to the Arabic-language communist newspaper Al-Ittihad, the case of Abu Atwan, who had previously served two years in administrative detention, is emblematic of Israel’s broader practice of systematic and arbitrary administrative detention, among which is the targeting of former Palestinian prisoners, who are routinely released, re-arrested, and placed in administrative detention for months on end.” Al-Ittihad went on to describe how, “The issuance and confirmation of administrative detention orders by Israel have drastically increased this year, and serve as a key feature of the repression against Palestinians engaging in their struggle towards their right to self-determination.”