Physicians for Human Rights on Wednesday asked for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court after a lower court rejected a petition by a hunger-striking terrorist to be released from his restraints and be examined by a doctor of his choice, Haaretz reported.
Bilal Kayed, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group, has been on a hunger strike for 64 days in protest of his administrative detention.
Kayed, 35, a resident of Asira a-Smaliya village north of Shechem, was arrested during the Second Intifada in 2002 and convicted of security crimes, including terror attacks and attempted terror attacks, and was sentenced to 14-and-a-half years in prison.
Last June, Kayed finished serving serving his prison sentence, but has since been held under administrative detention, in accordance with an order from the military court for a six-month detention. He then began his hunger strike.
He was moved from prison to the Barzilai Hospital in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon after his health deteriorated.
Last week, he petitioned the Be’er Sheva Administrative Court to have his restraints removed and be examined by an independent doctor. The request was refused by the court.
Attorney Tamir Blank, who is representing Kayed, condemned the court’s refusal to remove Kayed’s restraints, according to Haaretz.
“One can draw all kinds of imaginary scenarios … When a court rules that one must tie a person’s hands and feet to his bed, it is also meant to use some judgment and logic and balance between the probability of some scenario and the clear and certain violation of his rights. It seems that in this case, the court did not exercise judicial oversight or any critique at all over the Israel Prison Service’s statements,” he said.
“To realize his right to a second [medical] opinion was rejected for reasons that cannot be described as anything but baffling and not even remotely consistent with the law,” Blank added. “It’s not just that the court didn’t see any problem with the decisions of the prison service, but these decisions got the full backing of the court, with an explanation that was in part not even based on the prison service’s position.”
Blank also denied the court’s statement that the petition was filed for ulterior motives. “Unfortunately, the ones with the ulterior motives is the prison service, which wants to rule out the possibility of a second opinion instead of promoting the health of prisoners while observing detention regulations.”
Palestinian Authority officials say Kayed's health is deteriorating and that he suffers, among other things, from failed vision, difficulty standing and kidney problems.
Kayed has set “non-negotiable” preconditions for stopping his hunger strike, informing Israeli authorities he will agree to resume eating if his administrative detention ends after four months and his relatives are allowed to visit him in prison.
Jailed terrorists have repeatedly used hunger strikes as a pressure tactic aimed at forcing Israel to release them out of fear for their lives. Israel has several times in the past caved to the pressure and released some hunger strikers.
Amnesty International last week demanded that Israel either charge or release Kayed.