“Victory”: Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike released | Occupied West Bank

Ramallah, the occupied West Bank– Smiles abound when a steady stream of visitors enter the Kayed Fasfous room of a hospital in Ramallah.

The former Palestinian prisoner has been recovering here since he was imprisoned. Released this week After 131 days of hunger strike to protest the so-called “administrative detention” in Israel, individuals are allowed to be imprisoned indefinitely without trial or charges.

Fassfors, who was transferred to the hospital on Sunday, told Al Jazeera: “It’s great to be free and surrounded by friends and family.”

After refusing to take any food, supplements, vitamins or salt water for more than four months, the former bodybuilder has lost about 45 kilograms. He was transferred from the detention facility to an Israeli hospital in October.

The hunger strike caused great physical and mental damage to Fassforth, his memory was affected, and his thin body was still very weak-but his spirit was refreshed.

“I decided to go on a hunger strike because I want my freedom. I am also convinced that my career is just because this land belongs to the Palestinians and we have the right to live.” The 32-year-old said, adding, He believes that the administrative detention from the end of 2020 has been revoked to be correct.

“This is victory.”

Fasfous is a professional mechanic who has been in jail for six years. Some of these imprisonment periods also involve administrative detention, a procedure by which the Israeli army detains Palestinians based on “secret information” without charging them or placing them on trial.

“Neither detainees nor their lawyers have access to secret information or evidence. According to Israeli military orders, administrative detention can be extended indefinitely every six months,” Say Addameer rights organization in Ramallah.

“Although international law prohibits the widespread and systematic use of administrative detention, the Israeli occupier uses administrative detention as a tool for collective punishment of Palestinians.”

After reaching an agreement with the Israeli authorities similar to that of Fassforth, at least four of the other five Palestinian hunger strikers who have been administratively detained in recent months ended their operations.

Fasfous was recovering in the hospital in Ramallah when Fatah dignitaries gathered around him [Al Jazeera]

Fasfous recalled his tragic situation when he was arrested in October 2020, when dozens of Israeli soldiers raided his village of Dura near the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank in front of his wife and young daughter. Family.

He said that when he was blindfolded and handcuffed and sent to the Offer prison in Ramallah, he was attacked by Israeli soldiers.

His family also knew nothing about the place where Fasfous was held at first and could not visit him.

Fasfous went on a hunger strike in mid-July. By October, he was in critical condition and was transferred from Ofer prison to a hospital in Tel Aviv-he said it was an exhausting journey, during which he had been handcuffed and blindfolded.

He recalled: “In my weak state, it was difficult to sit upright. My body hit the sides when the transporter was running around.”

He said that he was also treated harshly and indifferently by medical staff in Israeli hospitals.

“If I try to complain or talk about any issues, they will just say that it doesn’t matter and they don’t care,” he said, adding that the doctors tried to persuade him to end the operation verbally every day.

“But I refused,” he said. “Although I felt extremely hungry and unwell, I was able to continue the hunger strike due to my faith and the huge support of the Palestinian people.

‘Freedom or death’

After the hunger strike on November 23, Fassfors could only eat a small amount of cooked vegetables, milk and soup and other easy-to-digest soft foods.

His doctor in Ramallah said his condition has improved significantly and he can be discharged from the hospital this weekend.

“I look forward to going home, visiting my family in Dura, Hebron, eating delicious homemade Palestinian food and breathing fresh air,” Fassforth said with a smile.

“I am very happy. When I finally recover, I want to take my wife to all the good restaurants in Hebron. I want to go for a walk outside, enjoy my freedom and see the beautiful countryside,” he added on the hospital bed road.

Not far away, Fasforth’s mother Fazia was beaming.

“I am very happy to see my son again and also very happy that my family is reunited. All I wanted was to keep all my family together, because my son has been arrested and put in jail time and time again over the years,” she told Al Jazeera.

Several Palestinian dignitaries also visited Fassforth in Ramallah Hospital, while a Palestinian Authority official called to congratulate him on his release.

“He defeated a powerful country, he is a role model for others, and I am proud to be his uncle,” Maher Namura, the famous leader of the Fatah Party in Hebron, told Al Jazeera.

Fasfous has ambitious plans for the future.

“I want to start fitness again in a few months, I want to go back to university to study and start working again,” he said.

But due to exhaustion, he said he knew he might go to jail again.

“I don’t believe in the Israelis, they might arrest me again, but if they do, I will resume hunger strike. Freedom or death.”

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