Palestinian hunger striker nearing death

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Published Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Palestinian prisoner on a hunger strike for 55 days to protest against his detention without trial by Israel is refusing medical treatment and his life is in danger, a hospital spokeswoman said on Thursday.

Khader Adnan, 33, has been refusing to eat since mid-December, shortly after his arrest in the occupied West Bank, and has only drunk liquids since then.

"He is not in good shape. People on a hunger strike for more than 50 days are in real danger. The doctors are extremely concerned," said Yael Shavit, spokeswoman for Sieff Hospital in the northern Israeli town of Safed, where Adnan has been taken.

"He refuses to accept any treatment. He has not agreed to be hooked up to an IV," she said, referring to intravenous infusion.

Palestinian officials say it is the longest hunger strike yet undertaken by a Palestinian prisoner and if Adnan dies, they expect major protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Adnan's wife, Randa, denies Israeli accusations that he is a leader of Islamic Jihad.

He is being held under so-called "administrative detention" that enables Israeli authorities to detain suspects without trial or charge indefinitely. A local rights group, al Haq, said 315 Palestinians were being held under the edict.

Israel frequently accuses detainees of militant activity to justify detention of Palestinians, but rarely produces evidence to support its claim.

Randa told Reuters she had visited her husband on Tuesday and that he was shackled to his hospital bed and had lost 35kg. She said his skin was discolored, his hair had fallen out and he had sores around his mouth.

"He couldn't pick up our daughter. He has no strength in his arms," she said, adding that he had started to vomit blood.

The Israeli Prisons Authority said in a statement that Adnan was being "carefully treated in accordance with the law."

The Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) said Adnan was on a hunger strike to protest against his detention and "the humiliating and cruel conditions of interrogation." It added that he was in an "precarious" condition and had been denied access to an independent doctor.

"He has guards in his room at all times and this is a huge problem," said PHR activist Anat Litvin.

Litvin said Adnan has asked that he be examined by their doctors in private, but that guards refused to leave and the doctors could not examine him while he was shackled. "There is no justification for this," she said.

The Israeli army said in a statement on Thursday that Adnan was arrested "for activities that threaten regional security. This warrant was authorized by a judicial review." It gave no further details, but said Adnan's appeal was under review.

A few dozen Palestinians staged a small protest outside Israel's Ofer prison in the West Bank on Thursday to demand Adnan's release.

"My son is not hungry for food or thirsty for water, but loves his freedom and the freedom of his people and all the detainees," said his father, Musa Adnan.

Israel maintains a military occupation of the West Bank, and imposes harsh restrictions on indigenous Palestinians, while expanding illegal Jewish settlements.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)


I would like to share my personal opinion and some historical knowledge. (there is an English version too).

The Reichstagsbrandverordnung in Germany from 1933 enabled Germany to arrest thousands of people on political grounds within very short time legally. It was one the important decrees that paved the way to the dictatorship of the political party NDASP. Which led to the murder of millions of Jews.
The decree specifially authorized any means necessary by the police to: "to restrict the rights of personal freedom [habeas corpus], freedom of opinion, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, ...".

"Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret evidence without charging them or allowing them to stand trial." ... "on the basis of article 285 of Military Order 1651. This article empowers military commanders to detain an individual for up to six-month renewable periods if they have “reasonable grounds to presume that the security of the area or public security require the detention”." Elsewhere it is stated that this includes "organizing and participating in protests; taking part in assemblies or vigils; waving flags and other political symbols; printing and distributing political material. In addition, the order deems any acts of influencing public opinion as prohibited “political incitement”."

I do not know the reasons for the detention of Khader Adnan, because they have not been made public and his lawyer has not been told either. I believe the reasons should be made public. To go on a hunger strike does not appear unreasonable to me, in a sitatuation where someone is not being told the reasons for detention, being beaten and humiliated. To my knowledge he has not made any political demands at all to stop his hunger strike. There is a question then why he is not being treated according to international human rights laws. I feel that Israels government and military is treating their own citizens unjustly, occupied territory or not, in such as way as has now been made public by his hunger strike.

The current Administrative detention practice involuntarily reminds me of the crimes that were comitted in Germany after similar practices became common. I do not wish that anyone follow such inhumane practices.

Another crime against humanity committed with the ardent support of the West. It is shameful to support Israel's racist policies.

Whatever moral position the Israelis claim to have, is now long gone. When God has to take a side, he'll side with the Palestinians.

injury to human dignity must be fought wherever and whenever. Solidarity with Khader Adnan

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