Israel rearrests Palestinian hunger striker after his health improves

Having recovered from 66-day hunger strike, Mohammed Allaan said to begin another fast to protest new detention

Israeli authorities detained a Palestinian man on Wednesday, just hours after he was discharged from an Israeli hospital for treatment after a two-month hunger strike to protest his earlier detention.

Mohammed Allaan's condition had improved enough for him to be discharged, the Barzilai hospital in southern Israel said earlier in the day.

His lawyer, Jamil Khatib, said that shortly after Allaan left the hospital he was detained again by Israeli authorities. Allaan was originally detained in November 2014 and held without charges.

Israel accuses the 31-year-old Allaan of links to Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian armed group. Allaan denies the affiliation.

According to Khatib, the renewed detention is illegal since it did not include a review of the case. Khatib said he would appeal to Israel's Supreme Court on Allaan's behalf.

Allaan's cousin said that the detainee wanted to be transferred to a Palestinian hospital in the occupied West Bank, where he lives. After today’s detention, Allaan has resumed his hunger strike. "He is starting his protest — no food, no medicine, everything," Nader Allan told Israel's Army Radio.

In August, Allaan ended his 66-day hunger strike shortly after Israel's Supreme Court suspended his detention. Doctors feared that he had suffered some brain damage as a result of the prolonged hunger strike.

Bobby Sands, a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, died after a 66-day hunger strike in British custody in 1981.

Allaan's case tested a new Israeli law allowing fasting inmates to be force-fed, a measure that doctors say amounts to torture. “Forced feeding is equivalent to torture, and every physician has the right to refuse to force-feed a hunger striker against his or her will,” the Israel Medical Association states in its Physician’s Guide to Treating the Detainee/ Prisoner on a Hunger Strike.

The arrest also casts light on Israel's use of administrative detention — a controversial form of imprisonment that allows Israeli authorities to detain individuals indefinitely without charge, trial or access to counsel if they are deemed a security threat.

During his hunger strike, Allaan was not force-fed, which entails inserting a feeding tube into the stomach. He was, however, given intravenous fluids, vitamins and nutrients as his condition deteriorated.

Israel’s Supreme Court suspended the detention order and released Allaan while he was receiving medical care. At the time of its ruling, the court did not specify what would happen to Allaan if he recovered, saying only that he could petition for his release if his condition improved.

Khatib said that authorities were required to review Allaan's case before detaining him again.

The Arab civil rights group Adalah, which petitioned the court on Allaan's behalf, said the new arrest was a "random and vindictive act" that had nothing to do with the evidence required to keep him in administrative detention.

Allaan began his fast to protest the policy of administrative detention. Israeli authorities argue the measure is needed to stop attacks, adding that revealing the charges would expose intelligence networks and put lives in danger. Rights groups say it violates due process, is meant only for extraordinary cases, and is overused.

Israel's Shin Bet security service said on Wednesday that in light of Allaan's improved health and "intelligence information," his release would "pose a danger to the peace and security of the region."

It said it would renew Allaan's administrative detention until Nov. 4, when it was originally scheduled to expire.

Al Jazeera and wire services. Ehab Zahriyeh contributed to this report.

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