Saturday, February 18, 2012

Khader Adnan: No food without freedom

Friday is the 62nd day of the Palestinian prisoner's protest against his detention by Israel.

Sixty-one days. That is how long it’s been since Khader Adnan has eaten.

The 33-year-old Palestinian was taken from his home in Arrabeh village near Jenin in the occupied West Bank at 3:30am on December 17. One day later he began his hunger strike to protest against the "humiliation and policy of administrative detention". Adnan, like hundreds of other Palestinians, was arrested under a military order that Israel has named "administrative detention", which allows prisoners to be held without charge or trial for periods of up to six months, spells that can be renewed indefinitely.

Sahar Francis is a lawyer with Addameer, a prisoner rights groups based in the West Bank city of Ramallah, and a member of Khader Adnan’s legal team. She visited the hunger striker in Ziv hospital in Safad, Israel, on Friday.

She described her client, who remains shackled to his hospital bed, as "mentally perfect, but physically very weak".

Francis told Al Jazeera that Adnan was being given only glucose and other sugars through an intravenous drip, but refusing anything else that would be considered a breach of his protest. Doctors told Francis that he could suffer from a heart attack or from the failure of other internal organs and die at any moment.

Adnan's family and legal team were hoping that he would be released this week when his case went before a military appeals court. However, the appeal was denied and the court ordered that Adnan must finish the four month administrative detention, set to end on May 8.

In response to Al Jazeera’s request for an interview, the Israeli military sent a statement that read:

"Khader Adnan was arrested with an administrative arrest warrant for activities that threaten regional security. This warrant was authorised by a judicial review."

Francis and Adnan's legal team argue that, after losing some 40kg from more than 60 days without food, Adnan is wheelchair-bound and too weak to pose a risk to anyone.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have both called on the Israeli authorities either to release Adnan or immediately charge him with criminal offences and have him tried. More