Two Palestinian prisoners are currently on long-term hunger strikes to end their administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, in the colonial prisons of the occupation regime. Khalil Awawdeh has been on hunger strike for 83 days and Raed Rayan has been on hunger strike for 48 days. They are among up to 600 Palestinians held in administrative detention and 4,500 total political prisoners in occupation prisons, putting their bodies and lives on the line to end their arbitrary detention.
Awawdeh, 40, from Ithna, near al-Khalil in the West Bank of occupied Palestine, is the father of four daughters. His health has deteriorated rapidly, and he has been repeatedly transferred to civilian hospitals, only to be returned to the infamous Ramle prison clinic where he is currently held. This frequent transfers put further pressure on his already fragile condition, as he is unable to stand or walk, suffers from severe pain and has lost a significant amount of weight after nearly three months without food.
Awawdeh originally intended to pursue medical school abroad but enrolled in an engineering course in al-Khalil at Palestine Polytechnic University before his studies were interrupted in 2002. Jailed for five years by the Israeli occupation, he was released in 2007. Later that year, he was once again seized and held without charge or trial under administrative detention for nearly three years. He has since been repeatedly detained. He launched studies at economics at Al-Quds Open University, which were again interrupted on 27 December 2021, when he was thrown in administrative detention without charge or trial once again.
He launched his hunger strike to demand an end to his detention without charge or trial. Transferred to the Ramleh prison clinic from Ofer prison after two months of hunger strike, he has been repeatedly taken to civilian hospitals only to be returned to the Ramleh prison, notorious for poor treatment and negligent healthcare. According to his lawyer, Ahlam Haddad and the Palestinian Prisoners Society , he is currently suffering from severe fatigue and exhaustion, severe headaches, severe pain throughout his body, and vision and concentration problems. This was combined with severe vomiting which prevented him from drinking water for several days.
His transfer to a civilian hospital is conditioned by the prison administration on taking food supplements and medical examinations, which he refuses.
The prison administration put pressure on him and his conditions of detention are very harsh and subjected to repeated demands to end his strike. He was denied access to wash or shower for 40 days of his hunger strike, and he has lost over 20kg since the start of his hunger strike.
Raed Rayan, 27, has been on hunger strike for 48 days. From the village of Beit Duqqu, northwest of occupied Jerusalem, he has been imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention since 3 November 2021. He was seized only months after his release from a previous period of administrative detention; he was arrested for the first time in June 2019 and jailed without charge or trial until April 2021.
Originally ordered detained for six months, his detention was extended for an additional four months in April 2022, sparking him to launch his hunger strike in protest. To protest against this decision, and to demand his release, he started a hunger strike on April 6, 2022. Since the beginning of his hunger strike, he has not received a medical examination. He suffers from headaches and pains all over his body and has difficulty walking.
What Is Administrative Detention?
Administrative detention was first used in Palestine by the British colonial mandate and then adopted by the Zionist regime; it is now used routinely to target Palestinians, especially community leaders, activists, and influential people in their towns, camps and villages.
There are currently approximately 600 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention, out of 4,450 Palestinian political prisoners. These orders are issued by the military and approved by military courts on the basis of “secret evidence”, denied to both Palestinian detainees and their attorneys. Issued for up to six months at a time, they are indefinitely renewable, and Palestinians — including minor children — can spend years jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention.
Palestinian administrative detainees have been boycotting occupation military courts for 144 days. Under the slogan “Our decision is freedom – no to administrative detention” , they protest against their incarceration and their conditions of detention. Today, 24 May, they refused to stand for roll call in further protest of their arbitrary imprisonment.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of Palestine to take action to support these Palestinian hunger strikers and all Palestinian prisoners struggling for freedom, for their own lives and for the Palestinian people. They are confronting the system of Israeli oppression on the front lines, with their bodies and their lives, to bring the system of administrative detention to an end. Take these actions below to stand with the hunger strikers and the struggle for liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea!
Join the Social Media Campaign!
There is a growing social media campaign to #FreeRaed and #FreeKhalil. Use these hashtags and to post on Twitter and Instagram. Post in all languages! Take action and join the social media outrage and break the isolation imposed upon Raed and Khalil by the Israeli occupation!
Protest in your city or country!
Join the many protests taking place around the world — confront, isolate and besiege the Israeli embassy or consulate in your city or country of residence. Or take to the streets in your neighborhood, on your campus or at a government building in your area. Make it clear that the people are with Palestine! Send us your events at email@example.com. One such demonstration is taking place on Wednesday, 25 May in Montreal at 6:30 pm at Guy-Concordia. Click here for details.
The international, Arab and Palestinian campaign to boycott Israel can play an important role at this critical time. Local boycott groups can protest and label Israeli produce and groceries, while many complicit corporations – including HP, G4S, Puma, Teva and others, profit from their role in support Zionist colonialism throughout occupied Palestine. By participating in the boycott of Israel, you can directly help to throw a wrench in the economy of settler colonialism.