By Qais Abu Samra
JERUSALEM (AA) - Israeli authorities on Thursday released Palestinian prisoner Maher al-Akhras, who had been on a hunger strike for 103 days.
"The occupation authorities have released Maher al-Akhras, and preparations are underway to transfer him from the [Kaplan] Israeli Hospital to the [Najah National] Hospital in Nablus, in the northern West Bank," Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the Prisoners Affairs Authority of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told Anadolu Agency.
Al-Akhras, 49, from the West Bank city of Jenin, began the hunger strike after he was detained under a draconian Israeli policy which allows authorities to hold detainees for more than one year without charge or trial.
He was transferred to administrative detention for four months, during which the occupation courts refused to release him despite the deterioration of his health.
Despite international and human rights appeals and the deterioration of his health, Israel had refused to release al-Akhras and transferred him to complete his treatment in West Bank hospitals.
Al-Akhras continued his strike for 103 days, before ending it on Nov. 6, following an agreement with the Israeli authorities to release him on Nov. 26.
According to human rights groups, the number of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons is approximately 4,400, including 39 women, some 155 children and about 350 administrative detainees.
* Writing by Mahmoud Barakat