An Israeli court has ordered the "administrative detention" of Sheikh Hassan Yousef to be extended for another six months, keeping the spiritual leader of Hamas and a member of the Palestinian parliament behind bars.
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said the court took the decision against the 60-year-old Yousef, who is a resident of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, after rejecting his appeal.
Israeli military forces raided the Hamas leader’s house on October 20, 2015, and violently ransacked it before taking Yousef away.
They later placed the Palestinian lawmaker under the administrative detention for six months. His captors had earlier extended Yousef’s detention jail term before it expired.
There are currently 7,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails and detention facilities. There are seven Palestinian lawmakers among the inmates.
Three Palestinian Legislative Council members are incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, according to the Palestinian prisoners' rights group Addameer. The practice allows the Israeli regime to keep detainees without charge.
Some prisoners have been held for up to 11 years without any charges brought against them.
Palestinian inmates regularly hold hunger strikes in protest at both the administrative detention policy and harsh prison conditions.
Israel denies Palestinian hunger strikers access to lawyers
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities have stripped 50 hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners of the right to meet their lawyers and seek legal advice.
The PPS said on Wednesday that 35 Palestinian inmates at the Gilboa Prison in northern Israel have been denied access to lawyers besides 15 others at the Megiddo Prison.
The Palestinian prisoners have stopped eating their food portions in solidarity with Bilal Kayed, it added.
The 35-year-old Palestinian prisoner has been on hunger strike for 56 days in protest at his detention. He is now refusing to undergo medical examinations unless he is released.
Kayed was arrested in 2002 and spent 14 and a half years in Israeli jails. On the day he was scheduled to be released on June 13, Tel Aviv decided to expand his detention for another six months, prompting him to go on a hunger strike.