At least 35 Palestinian prison inmates have begun an open-ended hunger strike to protest a decision by the Israeli authorities to place Palestinian political prisoner Bilal Kayed in “administrative detention”, according to a Palestinian official, Anadolu Agency reported.
“Twenty-five Palestinian prisoners on Monday declared an open-ended hunger strike at the Ofer Detention Center and Rimon Prison,” Issa Qaraqe, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s committee for prisoners’ affairs, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
“Today they were joined [in the hunger strike] by another 10 prisoners being held by Israel in the southern Negev region,” he said.
According to Qaraqe, the Palestinian-hunger strikers have recently escalated their protest action by “returning their meals to demand Kayed’s release and an end to Israel’s administrative detention policy”.
Qaraqe went to note that Palestinian solidarity groups had begun urging international organizations to intervene in the case with a view to securing Kayed’s release.
“I call upon the Palestinian people, officials, and human rights activists to urgently intervene to save his life,” Qaraqe said.
For its part, Islamic Jihad organized on Tuesday a protest in front of the United Nations’ headquarters to protest the arrest of Bilal Kayed by of Israeli authorities .
Kayed, 35, has now entered his 35th day on hunger strike to protest his ongoing placement in “administrative detention” — a policy by which prisoners can be held for up to one year without charge or trial.
Kayed was arrested by the Israeli authorities in 2002. He was later sentenced to 14-and-a-half years in prison after being convicted of being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
He had been slated for release on June 13 of this year, but the Israeli authorities — citing “secret evidence” — extended his detention for a further six months.
According to official Palestinian figures, over 7,000 Palestinians are currently languishing in Israeli prisons, roughly 700 of whom are being held in administrative detention.