Palestinian prisoner ends 71-day hunger strike

(JTA) – A Palestinian man being held without charge in an Israeli prison has ended a 71-day hunger strike.

Bilal Kayed, 35, called off his hunger strike Wednesday after receiving assurances from Israeli officials that his current six-month term of administrative detention would not be extended.

Administrative detention allows suspects to be held without charge for six-month intervals and can be renewed indefinitely by a judge.

Kayed spent 14 1/2 years in an Israeli prison after being convicted of working for a terrorist organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. But when his sentence was up in June, he was ordered held for another six months in administrative detention because the Israeli government regarded him as a security threat based on confidential evidence, Haaretz reported.

Under the agreement with Israel to stop his hunger strike, Kayed is set to be freed on Dec. 12.

Kayed is being treated at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. Due to his status as a prisoner and security risk, he is shackled to his bed and has guards around the clock. Israeli courts, including the Supreme Court, rejected requests to have the restraints removed.

In May, Muhammad al-Qiq was released from an Israeli prison after undertaking a 94-day hunger strike to protest his administrative detention. He ended the strike in February after reaching an agreement with Israel on his release.

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