Palestinian hunger striker said to be in ‘mortal danger’


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Palestinian woman jailed in Israel who has been on a hunger strike for more than a month is in "immediate mortal danger," a human rights group said.

Hana Shalbi, a member of Islamic Jihad, is in the 35th day of a hunger strike to protest being held under administrative detention without charges being brought against her.

Shalbi, 30, reportedly was taken to a hospital in Kfar Saba Monday and then returned to prison. She reported to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel that she was handled roughly during the transfers, including being "dragged across the floor." She has only taken water since her arrest on Feb. 16.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel is "gravely concerned for the life of Hana Shalabi and call for her immediate transfer to a hospital, with adequate care that is uninterrupted by frequent and unnecessary transfers."

At least 23 other Palestinian political prisoners are on hunger strikes to protest the use of administrative detention as an indefinite form of detention without charge or trial, according to Physicians for Human Rights.

Shalbi’s hunger strike follows that of another Islamic Jihad member, Khader Adnan, who was protesting his being held in an Israeli prison without charges. Adnan ended his 66-day hunger strike in mid-February when Israeli prosecutors agreed that his administrative detention would not be renewed.

Adnan was released from a hospital on Tuesday, where he had been for treatment ever since he ended his hunger strike.

A prisoner can be held in administrative detention, without charges being brought, for up to four months; it can also be renewed.

Shalbi is the third Palestinian prisoner exchanged for captive soldier Gilad Shalit to be re-arrested. Shalbi served 25 months in administrative detention prior to being set free.

Recommended from JTA