An Israeli military court on Monday rejected appeals by two Palestinian prisoners who have been refusing food for 55 days, their lawyer and a Palestinian prisoner rights NGO said.
"We just confirmed with Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla's families that both their appeals were rejected today," a spokeswoman for prisoner rights group Addameer told Agence France Presse.
Diab, 27, and Halahla, 34, began refusing food on February 29 in protest at being held without charge under a procedure known as administrative detention, which means they can be held for renewable periods of up to six months.
They are being held in the hospital wing of Ramle prison near Tel Aviv, with their condition described as "rapidly deteriorating."
Their lawyer, Jamil al-Khatib, confirmed the military judge had rejected their appeals after holding a closed meeting with members of Israel's Shin Bet internal security service and the military advocate general.
"He looked at the confidential files and decided that their hunger strike was their choice and does not affect the danger which they pose," he told Agence France Presse. "He said they are responsible for their own state of health."
Khatib said they had not been allowed any family visits and their health was in danger.
"They have entered a dangerous phase as each of them has lost 25 kilos (55 pounds), they have low blood sugar and high blood pressure and their hair is falling out," he said, indicating Halahla was also bleeding from the mouth.
"I will make an appeal to the (Israeli) High Court tomorrow," he said.
According to Physicians for Human Rights, Halahla has been in detention since June 2012, and Diab since August 2011. Both are allegedly associated with Islamic Jihad, but they have not been prosecuted.
Including Diab and Halahla, 11 prisoners have been on hunger strike for an extended period, most of them protesting against being held in administrative detention.
Refusing food has become an increasingly popular form of protest since the landmark strike undertaken by an Islamic Jihad prisoner called Khader Adnan, who went 66 days without food in a move which turned him into a national hero.
Over the last week, another 1,350 prisoners have begun an open-ended hunger strike to protest against the conditions in which they are being held.
There are 4,699 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails, of whom 319 are in administrative detention, according to Prisoners' Club figures.
|Copyright © 2012 Naharnet.com. All Rights Reserved.||http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/37823|