Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Cécile Pouilly
Date: 23 August 2016
We are deeply concerned at the deteriorating health of Bilal Kayed, a 35-year-old Palestinian man, who has been on hunger strike in Israel since 15 June 2016 to protest against his administrative detention. After 70 days of hunger strike, Mr. Kayed is reported to be in a critical condition and doctors have informed him that he may suffer irreversible damage to his health.
Mr. Kayed is one of the at least 700 Palestinians believed to be held in administrative detention in Israel Prison Service facilities.
This is the highest number of administrative detainees at a given time since early 2008.
Mr. Kayed was arrested in December 2001 and sentenced to 14 years and six months' imprisonment. He was held in solitary confinement during his last nine months of imprisonment. On 13 June 2016, the day of his scheduled release, a six-month administrative detention order was issued against him on unspecified security grounds and relying on secret evidence.
We are also worried 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 of them, Ayyad Jamal Al-Hreini, was also re-arrested and held in administrative detention on 23 December 2015, ten days after having completed a three-year sentence. He has been on hunger strike since mid-July.
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.