Hunger-striking Islamic Jihad prisoner denied release

Hospitalized Islamic Jihad prisoner’s request is rejected, due to “solid” classified evidence justifying his continued arrest.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A petition aiming to secure the release of a hunger-striking member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group was denied by Israel’s Supreme Court on Sunday.

Khalil Awawdeh, 40, is said to have been on a hunger strike since March 2022. His health has deteriorated, and last week, an Israeli court temporarily suspended his arrest so that he could be admitted to Shamir Medical Center in central Israel.

But attorneys on behalf of Awawdeh petitioned the court, asking for a full, unconditional release from administrative detention. Israel’s highest court denied that request on Sunday.

Awawdeh has been held in administrative detention, which means that he can be imprisoned indefinitely without being formally charged with a crime. Israel uses administrative detention as a preventative tactic against terrorists and those affiliated with terror groups.

In the ruling, the justices said that they were shown “solid” classified evidence which proved that Awawdeh’s indefinite detention is necessary, adding that there was “no justification” for the court to intervene at this time.

Awawdeh will continue his hunger strike until released, according to a media statement from his attorney, Ahlam Haddad.

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The “hunger strike will not be suspended because he is asking for his release and not for a freeze of his detention,” Haddad said.

According to PIJ, the ceasefire agreement which ended the three-day-long Operation Breaking Dawn, was predicated on a promise from Israel to release Awawdeh as well as PIJ leader Bassam al-Saadi.

Israeli defense officials strenuously denied that the release of the prisoners was part of the ceasefire agreement, but PIJ has doubled down on that claim and threatened to resume hostilities should Awawdeh and al-Saadi remain in detention.