Maher al-Akhras, who has been on a hunger strike since his administrative detention on July 27, is waging a battle against the mighty Israeli occupation apparatus. Every day brings him closer to death, as Israel seems to be trying to prove through his case that the life of Palestinians, like their freedom and human rights, are worth nothing. But the formidable insistence of his hunger strike against the principle of administrative detention, and his determination that the strike will end only once he is free or becomes a martyr, is mobilizing more and more people to his support. On Friday, the 89th day of his hunger strike, it seemed that his Israeli torturers finally lost their nerve.
On the August 27, after he completed the first month of his hunger strike, al-Akhras was transferred from the Ofer military prison to the central clinic of the Israeli “Prisons Service” in Ramleh prison. It is an institute with a very bad reputation; the prisoners call it “a graveyard for the living”. On September 9, after farther deterioration in his medical condition, the prison’s doctors said they couldn’t treat him anymore and he was transferred to Kaplan hospital, a civilian institution in the town of Rehovot.
Al-Akhras continued his hunger strike and his body became ever more fragile. His lawyer, Ahlam Haddad, applied several times to Israel’s High Court to demand his immediate release. As usual in such cases, the high court’s judges heard the “secret accusations” against al-Akhras from the security services’ officers behind closed doors, without disclosing them to the prisoner or his lawyer. The court refused to void the detention decree.
However, on September 22, taking into account al-Akhras’ medical condition, they decided that in his current health condition he couldn’t constitute any “danger to state security”. On this basis they suspended his detention, but said that even though he was not a detainee, he was still not allowed to go to his home or to a hospital in the West Bank. This was to make it easy to renew his detention once his health improved.
Al-Akhras was then actually detained as a “potential-administrative-detainee” in Kaplan hospital. His wife joined him in the hospital, and there were several demonstrations in solidarity with him front of the hospital. His hospital bed became a center of attention to activists who traveled to stand in solidarity with him.