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Source — The Electronic Intifada

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Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories : when hunger is the only option

Mariam al-Hih received a distressing phone call from her son Omar last month. Omar was going on hunger strike to protest how Israel had locked him up without charge or trial. As many other parents have done in similar situations, Mariam pleaded with Omar not to proceed with his hunger strike.

“I told him that it would kill me to see him suffer without being able to help him,” Mariam said. “But he had already made up his mind and I respected his choice. What else could I do?”

Omar has been placed under administrative detention — imprisonment without charge or trial — twice this year. After spending six months in Israeli custody, he was released in August. He barely spent a month with his family before being arrested again on 15 September — under another six-month administrative detention order issued by a military court.

Palestinians have few means of challenging administrative detention. Israel keeps whatever evidence it may hold against the prisoners secret. The draconian nature of administrative detention is exacerbated by the virtual impossibility of appeal against it.

With other options closed, Omar decided to embark on a hunger strike 10 days after his latest imprisonment. The tactic appears to have been effective.

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