The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today expressed concern over the deteriorating health of a 35-year-old Palestinian man who has been on a hunger strike against his administrative detention since 15 June, after having already completed his 14-and-a-half years prison sentence.
“After 70 days of hunger strike, [Bilal] Kayed is reported to be in a critical condition and doctors have informed him that he may suffer irreversible damage to his health,” OHCHR spokesperson Cécile Pouilly told the press at the regular briefing in Geneva today.
According to OHCHR, on 13 June, the day of Mr. Kayed’s scheduled release, a six-month administrative detention order was issued against him on unspecified security grounds and relying on ‘secret evidence.’
He was arrested in December 2001 and sentenced to 14 years and six months of imprisonment and was held in solitary confinement during his last nine months of imprisonment.
Ms. Pouilly further said that the UN human rights arm is also concerned at the situation of some 100 Palestinian detainees who are on hunger strike in solidarity with Mr. Kayed or to protest their own administrative detention or placement in isolation.
One such protestor, Ayyad Jamal Al-Hreini, on hunger strike since mid-July, was also re-arrested and held in administrative detention on 23 December 2015, ten days after having completed a three-year sentence, she noted.
On 20 August, Robert Piper, UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance and Development Aid in the occupied Palestinian territory had also expressed concern about Mr. Kayed’s deteriorating health.
The OHCHR spokesperson further said that Mr. Kayed is one of the at least 700 Palestinians believed to be held in administrative detention in Israel Prison Service facilities and that this is the highest number of such detainees at a given time since early 2008.
“We, once again, urge the Israeli authorities to end their practice of administrative detention and to either release immediately or promptly charge and prosecute all administrative detainees, with all the judicial guarantees required by international human rights law and standards,” she concluded.