Ramallah, occupied West Bank – Smiles abound as a gradual stream of holiday makers enters Kayed Fasfous’s room at a hospital in Ramallah.
The former Palestinian prisoner has been recovering right here since his launch this week after ending a 131-day starvation strike in protest in opposition to being held in what Israel calls “administrative detention”, which permits the indefinite imprisonment of people with out trial or cost.
“It is wonderful to be free and surrounded by friends and family,” Fasfous, who was transferred to the hospital on Sunday, informed Al Jazeera.
The former bodybuilder has misplaced about 45kg because of his refusal to take any meals, dietary supplements, nutritional vitamins or saltwater for greater than 4 months. He was moved from detention to an Israeli hospital in October.
The starvation strike has taken an infinite psychological and bodily toll on Fasfous, his reminiscence was affected and his emaciated physique remains to be very weak – however his spirits are excessive.
“I took the decision to go on the hunger strike because I wanted my freedom. I was also certain of the justice of my cause because this land belongs to Palestinians and we have the right to live” stated the 32-year-old, including that he felt vindicated by the reversal of his administrative detention that had begun in late 2020.
“This is victory.”
A mechanic by career, Fasfous had beforehand been imprisoned for a cumulative six years. Several of these durations of incarceration additionally concerned administrative detention, a process utilized by the Israeli military to detain Palestinians on “secret information” with out charging them or permitting them to face trial.
“The secret information or evidence cannot be accessed by the detainee nor his lawyer, and administrative detention can, according to Israeli military orders, be renewed every six months for an unlimited time,” says Ramallah-based Addameer rights group.
“Although the use of administrative detention in a widespread and systemic manner is prohibited under international law, the Israeli occupation uses administrative detention as a tool for collective punishment against Palestinians.”
At least 4 of 5 different Palestinian starvation strikers held in administrative detention have ended their actions in current months after reaching offers much like Fasfous’s with Israeli authorities.
Fasfous recalled the depressing circumstances of his arrest in October 2020, when dozens of Israeli troopers raided his home within the village of Dura, near Hebron metropolis within the occupied West Bank, in entrance of his spouse and younger daughter.
As he was transported to Ofer jail in Ramallah, blindfolded and handcuffed, he was assaulted by Israeli troopers, he stated.
His household have been additionally stored at midnight initially as to the place Fasfous was being held and have been unable to go to him.
Fasfous started his starvation strike in mid-July. By October, he was in crucial situation and was transferred from Ofer jail to a Tel Aviv hospital – an exhausting journey, he stated, throughout which he was stored handcuffed and blindfolded.
“In my weakened state it was hard to sit upright, and my body was banged against the sides of the transport vehicle as it hurtled around,” he recalled.
He says he additionally obtained tough and detached therapy from the Israeli hospital’s medical employees.
“If I tried to complain or speak up about any issue, they would just say it didn’t matter and they didn’t care,” he stated, including that the medical doctors tried to verbally persuade him every day to finish the motion.
“But I refused,” he stated. “I was able to continue the hunger strike despite the extreme hunger and physical discomfort I felt, and the unrelenting pressure put on me to stop, because of my faith and the enormous support of the Palestinian people.”
‘Freedom or death’
After ending his starvation strike on November 23, Fasfous has solely been capable of eat small parts of sentimental meals which are straightforward to digest similar to cooked greens, milk and soup.
His medical doctors in Ramallah say there was a big enchancment in his situation, and that he might go away the hospital by the tip of the week.
“I am looking forward to going home to see all my family in Dura, in Hebron, to eating delicious, homemade Palestinian food and to breathing fresh air,” Fasfous stated, smiling.
“I’m so happy and when I eventually regain my health, I want to take my wife to all the good restaurants in Hebron. I want to go for walks outside to enjoy my freedom and see the beautiful countryside,” he added from the hospital mattress.
Nearby, Fasfous’ mom, Fawzia, was beaming.
“I am so happy to see my son again and for my family to be united. All I ever wanted was for all the family to be together because over the years my sons have been arrested and jailed again and again,” she informed Al Jazeera.
Several Palestinian dignitaries additionally visited Fasfous within the hospital in Ramallah, whereas a Palestinian Authority official known as to congratulate him on his launch.
“He defeated a powerful country, he is an example to others and I’m proud to be his uncle,” Maher Namoura, a outstanding chief of the Fatah social gathering in Hebron, informed Al Jazeera.
And Fasfous has large plans for the longer term.
“I want to go back to bodybuilding in a few months and I want to go back to university to study as well as get back to work,” he stated.
But by means of his exhaustion, he says he’s conscious that he may very well be behind bars once more.
“I don’t trust the Israelis and it’s possible they will arrest me again, but if they do I will resume my hunger strike. Freedom or death.”