Nearing Imminent Death, Palestinian Hunger Striker Continues Protest Against Israeli Military Justice System

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Common Dreams

Nearing Imminent Death, Palestinian Hunger Striker Continues Protest Against Israeli Military Justice System

Khader Adnan now held for 55 days without charge or trial

by
Common Dreams staff

Palestinian political prisoner Khader Adnan was arrested from his home in occupied West Bank by Israeli authorities on December 17, 2011, but is yet to be charged or given a trial. He is held under 'administrative detention'. Adnan appealed his detention on Thursday in a court hearing held in an Israeli hospital, but the decision was once again delayed -- leaving Adnan in indefinite detention.

Adnan's hunger strike is in protest of the Israeli justice system, particularly its treatment of Palestinian prisoners. The strike is the longest of its kind for Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Adnan has gained international attention. Rights groups, including Amnesty International, have begun a call for "the Israeli authorities to release Khader Adnan and other Palestinians held in administrative detention, unless they are promptly charged with internationally recognizable criminal offences and brought to trial in full conformity with international fair trial standard."

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AFP reports:

"We asked during the hearing for the cancellation of the administrative detention order and the immediate release of Khader Adnan," lawyer Jawad Bulus told AFP. "They investigated him and they haven't proved anything against him."

"Khader's voice was frail and weak. He testified about the harsh conditions of his detention and the restrictions that have been placed on him on hospital now."

The court session was originally scheduled to take place in Ofer military court near the West Bank city of Ramallah, but Adnan's condition meant moving him, even by ambulance, would have endangered his life, Bulus said.

The court sought to postpone the hearing, but Adnan insisted it go ahead, instead appearing before the military judge in a room at the Ziv hospital in the northern Israeli city of Safed.

"Khader's voice was frail and weak. He testified about the harsh conditions of his detention and the restrictions that have been placed on him on hospital now," Bulus said.

He said the court issued no decision and was not expected to rule before Sunday on Adnan's appeal. [...]

Adnan is being held shackled to a hospital bed under guard, and doctors from Israeli group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel told AFP they have been refused permission to meet with him privately. [...]

Adnan, who was arrested on December 17, says Israel has no evidence against him, and accuses his interrogators of mistreating him, saying they made crude, sexual comments about his wife and pulled his beard until his hair came out.

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Al-jazeera reports:

Supporters of Khader Adnan, a Palestinian activist, have called for a worldwide solidarity hunger strike, after human rights groups reported that his life was in danger. [...]

People from around the world tweeted on Thursday that they had joined the solidarity hunger strike, using the hashtag #9febHungerStrike.

Amnesty International said that Adnan's life was in danger as he continued his protest against his detention without trial or charge.

"He remains shackled to his hospital bed and constant[ly] under armed guard," the rights group said in a statement. [...]

Musa Adnan, the prisoner's father, said on Monday that he had also begun a hunger strike to "support his son and understand his pain".

Speaking to Al Jazeera's Rania Zabaneh on Thursday, Musa said he was going to Ofer Military Base where a solidarity protest was taking place. Meanwhile military judges considered a final appeal at Safad hospital where Khader was held.

Protesters at Ofer held up signs that read: "Wake up! Our dignity will fall if Khader Adnan falls, Wake up before I die," and "Our dignity more important than food."

Protesters also held a mock casket with the names of 203 Palestinians who alleged to have died in Israeli jails, with a sign that read, "Wake up before I become number 204".

There are currently some 310 Palestinians in administrative detention, a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely without charge or trial.

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Amnesty International reports:

On 7 February, Khader Adnan’s wife, Randa, was allowed to visit her husband in hospital for the first time since his detention, after she received a one-day permit from the Israeli authorities. She said that his health is deteriorating: “Medical staff treat him very badly. While I was there he had chest pains and asked a nurse to call Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). The nurse yelled at Khader saying that she does not have time for him and that if he needs medical attention he should break his hunger strike. Another doctor mocked him when he asked for water and said that he should also stop drinking water.” He remains shackled to his hospital bed and constant under armed guard.

The only lawyer allowed to visit Khader Adnan told Amnesty International that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) moved him to five different hospitals and medical centres in the last week, which he said was not necessary given that he is only accepting medical treatment from PHR. Khader Adnan’s lawyers believe that this is intended to add further pressure on him, including by making it harder for his lawyers and family to visit him. The lawyer added that Khader Adnan can still speak and that he is determined to continue his struggle against administrative detention.

Amnesty has also urged supporters to write letters:

Expressing concern for Khader Adnan's life, and urging that he is given regular access to confidential medical treatment of his choice, treated humanely at all times, and not punished in any way for his hunger strike;

Calling on the Israeli authorities to allow him regular and private access to his lawyers, doctors and family;

Calling on the Israeli authorities to release Khader Adnan and other Palestinians held in administrative detention, unless they are promptly charged with internationally recognizable criminal offences and brought to trial in full conformity with international fair trial standards.

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Electronic Intifada recently posted a video message from Tommy McKearney, one of the participants of the legendary 1980-81 Irish hunger strikes, of solidarity to Khader Adnan and his family:

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