International calls for the release of Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdeh are intensifying as he approaches six months on hunger strike to protest his ongoing detention without prosecution by Israel.
Images of a severely malnourished Awawdeh, published by his wife on Sunday, a day after she visited him in the hospital, have prompted an increase in requests for his release, notably from the European Union’s (EU) delegation to Palestine.
The delegation stated in a Twitter statement that it was “shocked by the gruesome images of Awawdeh” and that he was “at imminent risk of dying.”
“Unless he is immediately charged, he must be released!” the statement said.
Awawdeh was seized by the Israeli army in December 2021 from his home in Ithna, in the southern Israeli-occupied West Bank, and placed in a so-called “administrative detention.”
He is one of around 670 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons under a procedure that permits extended detention without trial or charge based on “secret evidence” that neither the detainees nor their attorneys are permitted to view.
Israel initially arrested Awawdeh on suspicion that he was an “operator” for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an allegation that his attorney has refuted and stated that administrative detention is required for security reasons. Human rights organizations say that it constitutes collective punishment and violates international law.