Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner in coma

A Palestinian held by Israel has slipped into a coma after a nearly two-month hunger strike

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A Palestinian held by Israel without trial has slipped into a coma after a nearly two-month hunger strike, his lawyer said on Friday.

“I was informed yesterday evening by the (Israeli) hospital where he is being held that he had fallen into a coma,” Jamil al-Khatib, the attorney of detainee Mohammed Allan, told AFP.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Israeli authorities.

A spokeswoman for the Palestinian Prisoners Club said Allan was on life support.

“Mohammed Allan fell into a coma and was then placed on an artificial respirator,” Amani Sarahneh said.

A spokesman for the Israel Prisons Service said he was not aware of such developments.

Allan, an alleged Islamic Jihad activist who has been held without charge by Israel since November, has been on hunger strike since June 18, the prisoners club said.

His case is a source of growing concern among the Palestinian public.

Allan’s lawyer said that Israel intends to force-feed him, a measure likely to further increase Palestinian anger.

The authorities may also find it hard to find a doctor willing to cooperate, as the Israeli Medical Association strongly opposes the practice.

“A doctor will not participate in force-feeing a hunger striker,” it says in a position paper published on its website.

An Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity said that force-feeding was very much a last resort and required approval by a judge in every case.

“Before forced feeding there are many, many medical processes,” he said. “They can give him water and other fluids intravenously. There’s no need to go straight to forced feeding.”

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