Israel offers to free Palestinian hunger striker if he goes abroad

AFP , Monday 17 Aug 2015

Mohammed Allan Hunger Strike
Maazouzeh Allan, mother of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Mohammed Allan, protests on Sunday against threats to force-feed her son. (Photo: Reuters)

Israel Monday offered to free a Palestinian detainee whose two-month hunger strike has left him in a coma -- but only if he goes abroad, a demand his lawyer immediately dismissed.

The justice ministry's offer came as Israel's top court heard arguments over whether to release Mohammed Allan, 31, who lapsed into a coma on Friday after ingesting only water since June 18.

After hearing the arguments, the High Court set another hearing for Wednesday. Allan's lawyers argued that his condition negated the authorities' argument that he posed a danger.

The justice ministry released a statement ahead of the hearing offering to free Allan "if he agrees to go abroad for a period of four years".

"We are categorically refusing that proposal," Allan lawyer Jamil al-Khatib told AFP.

Since Allan lost consciousness, doctors have used artificial breathing equipment, fluids and vitamins to keep him alive.

A doctor at the hospital where Allan is being treated told the court that he had not appeared to suffer irreversible damage but would probably not survive if he resumed his hunger strike.

Allan has been on hunger strike in protest at his internment under administrative detention, which allows people to be held without charge for six-month intervals that can be renewed indefinitely.

He has been in custody since November 2014.

The militant Islamic Jihad movement describes Allan as a member, as does Israel which has used administrative detention to hold Palestinians it deems to be security risks while not divulging what the authorities view as sensitive intelligence.

Many Palestinian prisoners have staged hunger strikes, including those on administrative detention.

Allan's protest has also raised questions over whether Israel would seek to invoke a law passed last month allowing prisoners to be force-fed when their lives are in danger.

Doctors and activists strongly oppose the law, including those who say the practice amounts to torture and robs Palestinians of a legitimate form of protest.

The law requires the authorities to seek a court order to allow for force feeding, which they have not done.

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