Support grows for Palestinian hunger striker

Khader Adnan’s “life is in danger” after more than 50 days without food in protest against his detention without charge.

A Palestinian woman walks towards posters of prisoner Khader Adnan
Activists around the world call for the release of Adnan who has been on a hunger strike since his detention [AFP]

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.

Adnan, widely believed to be a leader of the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad, has not had food since mid-December when the Israeli army raided his West Bank home.

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.

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.

The order will end on May 8, but Amnesty International said that it could be renewed indefinitely.

Bad treatment

Adnan’s wife, Randa, complained that medical staff were treating him very 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.”

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.

‘Life at risk’

In a statement, the Israeli Prison Service acknowledged Adnan’s life was at risk and said he had agreed to take potassium pills, the BBC reported. The prison service also said that Adnan had said he did not want to die.

The 33-year-old is protesting against what he says was a violent arrest as well as humiliating interrogation sessions.

He told lawyers and human rights organisations that masked soldiers violently broke into his house, where his mother and children were present.

Adnan said that his hands were shackled behind him and that he was thrown onto the floor of the military jeep and kicked and slapped by soldiers while they took him to the settlement of Mevo Dotan.

He told lawyers that he went on a hunger strike on the second day of his arrest to protest his ill-treatment by interrogators from the Israel Security Agency (ISA).

According to the ISA briefing that his lawyers received, Adnan was interrogated almost every day from January 18 until January 29; on some days he was interrogated twice.

The only lawyer allowed to visit Adnan said that he has been moved to five different hospitals and medical centres in the last week, which was not necessary given that he was only accepting medical treatment from Physicians for Human Rights.

Adnan’s lawyers believe that this was intended to add further pressure on him, including by making it harder for his lawyers and family to visit him

Adnan has been detained at least seven times previously – in 2005, he went into a 12-day hunger strike protesting his isolation. His demands were met and he was moved back with other prisoners at Kfar Yona prison.

Online campaign

Support for the solidarity hunger strike seemed to come in from as far as Argentina and Honduras. Here is a collection of some of those that tweeted in solidarity with the online campaign.

If you cannot see the tweets above, click here.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies