An Ashkelon court on Wednesday night ordered the release of dozens of protesters who had been arrested outside Barzilai Hospital in the city. The protesters faced off against police in a demonstration against a terrorist who was being treated inside after undergoing a hunger strike.
During the hearing Wednesday night, the court discovered that at least one of the protesters was beaten by police as he was being arrested. The offending officer told the court that an internal affairs investigation against him had already been opened. Police had sought to hold the protesters for 24 hours, with the request rejected by the court.
The terrorist was not named, but security officials said that he was one of hundreds of Hamas terrorists in Israeli prisons who were participating in a mass hunger strike. The terrorists are protesting what they call “humiliating” searches and attempts by prison authorities to separate prisoners, a move prison officials undertook in response to a developing security concern over possible mass action by terrorists. The terrorists are demanding that they be returned to their original cells.
The leader of the hunger strikers is Muhammad Amran, who stopped eating several days ago after he was placed in solitary confinement for prison security violations.
The detainees at Wednesday’s protest were represented by the Honenu organization, which said that “the behavior of the police was nothing less than brutal. We plan to file complaints with police investigative units and demand that all the police who struck out blindly and for no reason at protesters be punished.”