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Israeli authorities rearrest Muhammad Allan

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Israeli authorities on Wednesday rearrested former Palestinian hunger striker Muhammad Allan after he was discharged from an Israeli hospital, the head of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society told Ma’an.

Qadura Fares said that Israeli authorities had reinstated Allan’s administrative detention, internment without trial or charge, against which the prisoner undertook a 66-day hunger strike to protest.

Israel’s top court previously suspended the sentence in August, causing Allan to end the hunger strike that brought him close to death.

Rights group Amnesty International warned at the time that Israel’s suspension of his administrative detention was based on his medical condition alone and “took no account of the legality of his detention,” raising fears that Allan could be re-sentenced if his health improved.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri confirmed the arrest, saying in a statement: “Muhammed Allan, whose condition has improved, was arrested this morning by police at the hospital in Ashkelon.”

The 31-year-old lawyer was arrested as he was leaving Barzilai Medical Center in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.

Qadura Fares said that he had since been moved to Ramla prison hospital.

He said that the Israeli authorities intended for Allan to see out the 6-month administrative detention order he was sentenced to in May, which will last until Nov. 4.

However, he added: “It doesn’t mean he will be released then.”

He said that during the Supreme Court’s hearing in August, the prosecutor had referred to Allan as “very dangerous,” and suggested that they would like to have him sentenced to administrative detention three more times, totaling one and a half years.

An Israeli Prison Service spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

His father, Nasser al-Din Allan, said that he had spoken to his son on Tuesday night and he believed he would be allowed to transfer to a hospital in Nablus, near where he is from.

“My son told me that he doesn’t trust them (the Israelis) and if they break their promise to him, he will resume his hunger strike immediately,” he said. It was not clear if Allan had done so.

‘Forced to fight this battle’

Allan’s administrative detention was initially ordered by Israeli officials who claimed that he constituted a threat to security and was an activist in the Islamic Jihad group, according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer.

Islamic Jihad — along with the majority of Palestinian political organizations — is illegal according to Israeli military law.

Following the decision, Allan reportedly related to his attorney: “Administrative detention returns us to slavery, and therefore I refuse to be a slave to anyone.”

“The truth is that I currently prefer hunger as long as freedom is the goal in the absence of law in Israeli courts. So, I found myself forced to fight this battle,” he said at the time.

Administrative detention, which can be renewed indefinitely in six-month periods, has been strongly criticized by the international community as well as both Israeli and Palestinian rights activists.

Israel says it is an essential tool in preventing attacks and protecting sensitive intelligence because it allows authorities to keep evidence secret.

Rights groups say that international law allows for such detention only under extreme circumstances, but that Israel uses it as a punitive measure on a routine basis to circumvent the justice system or as a crutch to avoid trial.

They have called on Israeli authorities to charge or release those held under administrative detention.

Many Palestinians have gone on hunger strike to protest the practice, though few have continued as long as Allan’s. His protest began on June 18 and ended on August 20.

In July, Khader Adnan was released after a 56-day hunger strike to protest his administrative detention.

Administrative detainees are allowed to appeal to the courts, but activists say the chances of having their detainment overturned are extremely slim.

Beyond debate over administrative detention, Allan’s hunger strike also raised the question of whether a controversial law passed in July allowing for the force-feeding of prisoners would be invoked.

The UN has said that the law violates the “fundamental human right” to peaceful protest. MAANNEWS

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