Israel has rejected an appeal by an alleged leader of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad who has been held without any charge since December 17, according to a defense lawyer in the case.
The lawyer, Mahmoud Hassan, said on Monday that an Israeli military court judge denied the appeal by Khader Adnan and that Adnan will be held until May 8.
Adnan has been refusing food since he was arrested, in protest of his administrative detention, the term for a practice that Israel has used since 1967 to hold suspects indefinitely without charge or trial based on secret evidence.
Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails reportedly joined Adnan’s hunger strike after human rights groups reported his life was in danger.
The court’s decision prompted a furious reaction from the Issa Qaraqa, the Palestinian Authority’s prisoner affairs minister, who said the rejection of the appeal was tantamount to murder.
“This decision is premeditated murder,” he told the AFP news agency.
Jawad Bulus, a lawyer for Adnan who was present at Ofer military court, said the presiding judge had decided that Adnan held the keys to his own welfare and was responsible for his own fate. He said Adnan’s legal team would take the case to the Supreme Court.
On Thursday, Adnan appealed his detention without charge before an Israeli military judge sitting in a special session in hospital.
Earlier this month, a military court ordered Adnan held in administrative detention for four months, though with his condition worsening he has spent most of the past six weeks in a string of Israeli hospitals.
His hunger strike has gone on longer than any Palestinian prisoner before him. Human Rights Watch on Saturday called on Israel to “immediately charge or release” him.
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement that Israel should “immediately end its unlawful administrative detention” of Khader Adnan and “charge or release him”.
Adnan was arrested from his house in the occupied West Bank on December 17, and given a four-month administrative detention order by an Israeli military court on January 10.
Hundreds of Palestinians, protesting outside Ofer Prison in the West Bank in solidarity with Adnan on Saturday, were dispersed by Israeli soldiers using rubber bullets and tear gas.
An Israeli military spokesman said that protesters had “hurled rocks at security forces”.
In addition, two Israelis and two Palestinians were arrested in a separate rally for Adnan in the West Bank village of Beit Omar, the military and activists said.
There are currently some 310 Palestinians in administrative detention.
“Israel should end, today, before it’s too late, its almost two-month-long refusal to inform Adnan of any criminal charge or evidence against him,” Whitson said.
On Friday, Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, called on Israel “to do everything in its power to preserve the health of the prisoner and resolve this case while abiding by all legal obligations under international law”.
Adnan’s wife, Randa, complained that medical staff were treating him badly after she visited him in hospital on February 7, the first time since his detention.
His health is deteriorating, she said, adding that a doctor had “mocked him when he asked for water and said that he should also stop drinking water”.
“A lot of the hair on his face and head has fallen off. He has not been allowed to shower or wash during all his time in detention, nor is he allowed to wear warm clothes in this cold weather,” Randa said.