A Palestinian detainee who has spent more than a month on hunger strike has been transferred from hospital to solitary confinement by Israeli authorities.
Imad Al-Batran, 47 and from Hebron, in the West Bank, has been refusing food since 20 February 2021, in protest at his administrative detention. After being treated at the Kaplan Israeli Medical Centre he was returned to Nitzan prison on 30 March.
He has not been charged or tried for any crime.
Reports indicate that Al-Batran has been experiencing medical complaints including pain in his abdomen, head and joints and fatigue.
He began his hunger strike after his detention was renewed for a fourth time.
Administrative detention is a means by which Israel can hold prisoners indefinitely without revealing the reason for doing so, and without a trial. Prisoners’ lawyers are not allowed to know the reason for the detention. This form of detention can not exceed six months, but this may be renewed – without reason – as often as Israeli authorities wish to do so.
It is not the first time Al-Batran has taken part in a hunger strike. In 2013, he refused food for 105 consecutive days, and in 2016 he went on hunger strike again for 36 days.
In total, he has served 10 years in Israeli detention, mostly without charges or trial.
Israel is currently thought to hold 440 people in administrative detention. Some 175 new administrative detention orders were issued in January and February 2021 alone.
Al-Batran has a wife and five children, the youngest child being five years old. His brother, Tariq, is also in Israeli prison, in the 16th year of a life sentence for resisting the occupation.
Hunger strikes have often been used as a tool to resist the policy of administrative detention, which human rights campaigners claim violates international law.
Among his supporters is Palestinian health minister Mai Al-Kaileh, who has called on Israel to release Al-Batran.