Supreme Court Rejects Hunger Striker's Petition

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal of security prisoner Hassan Safdi, 31, who has been on a hunger strike since March 5

Gabe Kahn,

Supreme Court of Israel
Supreme Court of Israel
Israel news photo:

Israel’s Supreme Court rejected Wednesday an appeal by security prisoner from a Palestinian Authority enclave who has been refusing food for more than seven weeks.

Hassan Safdi, 31, was arrested on June 29, 2011 and has been held in administrative detention as a threat to national security.

He has been on hunger strike since March 5, shortly after the State Prosecutor decided to release Islamic Jihad terrorist Khader Adnan after he appealed to the Supreme Court.

Adnan went 66 days without food and only agreed to end his strike after Israel agreed not to renew his detention beyond the original order.

Touted as an innocent victim falsely incarcerated by Israel, a video later surfaced in which Adnan pleaded for prospective suicide bombers to “carry the next explosive belt.”

The decision to release him was widely criticized as "opening the floodgates" to more hunger-strike challenges by prisoners with reason to believe Israeli officials would capitulate.

Safdi’s lawyer, Osama Maqbul told AFP he had lodged an appeal against the administrative detention order with an Israeli military court last month but it had been rejected.

A second appeal, this time to the Supreme Court, was also rejected, Maqbul told AFP, with the court asking Safdi to end his protest.

“His appeal was rejected yesterday by the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, which ratified the detention order based on the secret file which consists of intelligence information,” he said.

“The court advised him to eat because he will not be released.”

After 52 days on hunger strike, Safdi had lost 66 pounds and was “in critical condition,” Maqbul said, saying his client is suffering from kidney problems.

Safdi is one of eight prisoners from PA enclaves who have been refusing food for an extended period of time, with six of them now being held in the hospital wing of Ramle prison near Tel Aviv.

“Six prisoners who started their hunger strike several months ago have been placed in the medical ward of the Ramle prison and are on a drip,” spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service spokesperson Sivan Weizman said.

Five of them are being held in administrative detention, and two – Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla – are now entering their 57th day on hunger strike.

On Tuesday, Diab and Halahla's lawyer Jamil al-Khatib, said he planned to appeal the decision of an IDF court that the two men were  “responsible for their own state of health.”

Legal experts say Wednesday's ruling by the Supreme Court means Diab and Halahla's appeal will likely be rejected as well.

Under Israel's administrative detention laws security officials may seek a court order to detain an individual without charge if they are suspected of being a threat to national security.

Such orders can be appealed to a higher court, and must be reviewed by the court every six months. Israel's Supreme Court is the final court of appeal.

Israeli officials have a strict policy of not discussing intelligence matters in public and hearings surrounding administrative detention orders are held in closed courts. 

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