On 48th day of hunger strike, Kayed pledges to continue until “freedom or death”

samidoun-kayedThe Israeli High Court rejected an appeal by hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed, held under administrative detention without charge or trial, against the detention order against him. Kayed, on hunger strike for 48 days, met yesterday with his lawyer Farah Bayadsi of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association in Barzilai Hospital, where he remains shackled hand and foot to his hospital bed.

According to Addameer, Kayed vowed that he would continue his strike until “freedom or death,” and demanded to leave the hospital and return to the prison be side by side with his fellow prisoners on hunger strike in the battle for freedom, rather than isolated from his comrades and brothers. He “stated that he would rather die of starvation than give up his rights and those of his fellow prisoners and detainees.” He noted that he will continue to reject all medical examinations, including blood pressure, heart monitoring, or blood and urine tests.

Bayadsi also stated the extremely repressive conditions of his confinement in the hospital, noting that Kayed is subject to a watch-like detection device that broadcasts a loud noise every 20 minutes and whenever movement is detected as well as the constant presence of three prison guards inside and outside his hospital room.

Kayed, 34, has been on hunger strike since 15 June; following the expiration of his 14.5 year sentence in Israeli prison, instead of being released as scheduled on 13 June, he was ordered to six months in indefinitely renewable administrative detention. He launched his strike to demand immediate freedom, and has won the widespread support of fellow Palestinian prisoners. Over 100 fellow Palestinian prisoners are currently engaged in an open hunger strike in support of Kayed’s battle for freedom, including Ahmad Sa’adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who was thrown in solitary confinement on Sunday, 31 July after he joined the collective hunger strike.

In addition to the collective strike in support of Kayed’s demand for freedom and an end to administrative detention, four more administrative detainees are on hunger strike for freedom; brothers Mohammed and Mahmoud al-Balboul, on hunger strike for 28 days; and Ayed Herama and Malik al-Qadi, on hunger strike for 18 days. Mahmoud al-Balboul was transferred from solitary confinement in Ofer prison to the Ramle prison clinic on 31 July after the deterioration of his health condition.

Over 170 Palestinian and international organizations have signed a call for the immediate release of Bilal Kayed, in this case that poses a dangerous precedent of indefinite detention of Palestinian prisoners upon the completion of their sentences. Protests are growing in the prisons, throughout Palestine, and internationally, in support of Kayed’s release and for an end to administrative detention. Kayed, the Balboul brothers, al-Qadi and Herama are among over 700 Palestinian prisoners held without charge or trial, out of a total of 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.