Israeli authorities on Thursday released a jailed Palestinian man weeks after he ended a 103-day hunger strike to protest his imprisonment without charge.
Agence France-Presse reports Maher Al-Akhras, 49, was was transferred from a hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel to one in the illegally-occupied West Bank city of Nablus nearly three weeks after ending his hunger strike against Israeli administrative detention.
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) November 26, 2020
Watch| Maher al-Akhras,a Palestinian in Israeli jails who ended his 104day hunger strike earlier this month against detention without charge or trial, arrives at Najah Hospital in Nablus, north of the occupied West Bank,after being released today by Israeli occupation authorities pic.twitter.com/OHR6CNNwB6
— Almanara (@almanaragroup48) November 26, 2020
"My freedom is the freedom of my people, and we have won over the occupation with our will and determination," Al-Akhras declared upon his release, according to Middle East Eye. The father of six added that his health is "fine."
"I feel pain in my joints, but I will be fine, inshallah," he said, using the common Arabic expression meaning "God willing."
#maheralakhras is free. Please carry on with the struggle until the 5,000 other #Palestinian prisoners are also free; in fact, until the Palestinian people are free as well.. https://t.co/gHDQwMRbMz via @PalestineChron #Palestine #PalestinianLivesMatter
— Ramzy Baroud (@RamzyBaroud) November 26, 2020
Addameer, an advocacy group for Palestinian prisoners, says about 4,500 Palestinians were jailed by Israel as of last month, with around 370 of them held in administrative detention. According to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem:
Administrative detention is incarceration without trial or charge, alleging that a person plans to commit a future offense. It has no time limit, and the evidence on which it is based is not disclosed. Israel employs this measure extensively and routinely, and has used it to hold thousands of Palestinians for lengthy periods of time. While detention orders are formally reviewed, this is merely a semblance of judicial oversight, as detainees cannot reasonably mount a defense against undisclosed allegations. Nevertheless, courts uphold the vast majority of orders.
The policy dates back to the period when Palestine—which includes all of what is today Israel—was ruled as a British colony and pro-independence Jewish militants carried out terrorist attacks against occupying forces and Palestinian Arabs.
Al-Akhras refused to eat or drink since he was arrested on July 27. Shin Bet, Israel's internal intelligence agency, claims he is a member of the Palestinian resistance group Islamic Jihad. Al-Akhras, who denies the allegations, has been imprisoned at least five times for a total of more than five years since he turned 18.