News ID: 323822
Published: 0243 GMT August 29, 2022

EU calls for release of Palestinian hunger striker Awawdeh

EU calls for release of Palestinian hunger striker Awawdeh

Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdeh

Calls are growing internationally for the release of Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdeh as he nears six months of a hunger strike against his continued detention without charge by Israel.

Images of an extremely emaciated Awawdeh, shared by his wife on Sunday, a day after she visited his hospital room, have led to growing calls for his release, including from the European Union’s (EU) delegation to Palestine, Al Jazeera reported.

The delegation said in a statement released on Twitter that it was “shocked by the horrible pictures of Awawdeh” and said he was “in imminent danger of dying”.

“Unless charged immediately, he has to be released!” the statement added.

Awawdeh, a 40-year-old father of four daughters, was arrested by the Israeli Army from his home in Ithna, in the southern Israeli-occupied West Bank, in December 2021 and held under Israel’s so-called “administrative detention”.

He is one of approximately 670 Palestinians in Israeli prisons being held under the Israeli policy, which allows for indefinite detention without trial or charge based on “secret evidence” that neither the detainees nor their lawyers are allowed to see.

Israel initially arrested Awawdeh on suspicion of being a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) “operative”, an allegation his lawyer has denied, and said administrative detention is necessary for security reasons. Human rights groups say it is a form of collective punishment and a violation of international law.

The PIJ resistance group had demanded that Awawdeh be released as part of the conditions of an August 7 ceasefire agreement that ended Israel’s three-day bombardment of Gaza, in which 49 Palestinians were killed, including 17 children.

However, Israeli authorities have so far refused to release him, and on August 21 the Israeli Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by his lawyer for his immediate release.

Awawdeh’s condition is critical and he now weighs only 38kg (84 pounds).





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