Arrests, hunger strikes, protests: The life of Khader Adnan

A timeline of major events in the life of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, who died in Israeli detention.

Khader Adnan
Khader Adnan first went on hunger strike in 2012. [File: Majdi Mohammed/AP Photo]

Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, who was affiliated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, has died in an Israeli prison after nearly three months on a hunger strike, Israeli prison officials said.

Reporting from Ramallah in the West Bank on Tuesday, Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim said Adnan’s family had been warning that, after 80 days without food, his life was in danger.

Adnan’s lawyer said Adnan’s condition had been deteriorating and they had asked Israeli authorities to hospitalise him.

A medic from the group Physicians for Human Rights Israel, who had visited the father of nine in prison this week, warned that he “faces imminent death” while calling for him to be “urgently transferred to a hospital”, the AFP news agency reported.

The Israel Prison Service said Adnan “refused to undergo medical tests and receive medical treatment” and “was found unconscious in his cell”.

Adnan, 45, began his strike shortly after being arrested on February 5.

Over the years, he has been repeatedly arrested by Israel and became a symbol of steadfastness in the face of Israel’s occupation when he began staging lengthy hunger strikes just more than a decade ago.

[Al Jazeera]

Adnan was arrested 12 times and spent about eight years in Israeli prisons, most of it under so-called “administrative detention”, in which Israel holds Palestinians on “secret evidence” for renewable six-month intervals without trial or charges

Here is a timeline of major events in Adnan’s life:


Israel arrested Adnan for the first time in March 1999 and kept him in “administrative detention” for four months.

In November, the Palestinian Authority arrested Adnan for leading a student demonstration against then-French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin at Bir Zeit University. The arrest led to his first hunger strike, which lasted 10 days.


Adnan was detained by Israeli security forces in 2002 and kept under “administrative detention” for a year. Six months after his release in 2003, he was arrested again and placed in solitary confinement.


Adnan married Randa in 2005. Before the wedding, he sat her down and explained the perilous future that would lie ahead if she married him.

“He told me that his life was not normal, that he might be around for 15 days and then be gone again for a long time. But I always dreamed of marrying someone strong, someone who struggles in defence of his country,” she told Al Jazeera.

“I am proud of him whether he is under the ground or above it.”

Adnan was arrested in August and kept in detention for 15 months.


Adnan became a father when his wife Randa gave birth to a girl, whom he named Maali after his sister. His second daughter Beesan was born two years later.

Adnan and Randa also had a boy, Abdel Rahman, and a set of triplets. At the time of his death, Adnan was the father of nine children.


Israeli forces arrested Adnan on December 17 at their home in Arrabeh, near Jenin, in the occupied northern West Bank. His family were not given a reason for his arrest.

He went on a hunger strike on December 18.

Adnan’s family, his lawyer, and doctors who visited Adnan during his detention told Human Rights Watch that his health had deteriorated seriously and that Israeli authorities had shackled him to his hospital bed.


Adnan held a 66-day hunger strike in the Israeli prison, immediately after his violent arrest by Israeli soldiers at the end of 2011.

After more than two months without food, Adnan’s lawyer brokered a deal in February with Israeli officials that saw him released on April 17.

Following his release, Adnan told Al Jazeera, “When I was hunger striking, they would purposely eat and drink in front of me. They would insult me, call me a dog. One told me that they still haven’t done anything to me yet.”

During his hunger strikes, Randa became the reluctant spokesperson for Adnan’s cause, fielding telephone calls and interviews. “I have a duty to respond to the media … In the past, he was in the media … now, I am the spokesperson.”


Adnan was arrested on July 8 when soldiers took him from his home. For the 10th time in his life, he was placed under “administrative detention”.

Randa and her children applied several times for Israeli permits to visit him in prison, but they were denied on “security” grounds.

People protest next to the home of Palestinian Islamic Jihad member Khader Adnan, following his death, in the village of Araba, near the West Bank City of Jenin, 02 May 2023. Israeli prison authorities said that Adnan died on 02 May 2023 in jail following more than 85 days of hunger strike. EPA-EFE/ALAA BADARNEH
People protest next to the home of Khader Adnan, following his death, in the village of Araba, near the West Bank City of Jenin, 02 May 2023 [Alaa Badarneh/EPA]


Adnan launched an indefinite hunger strike on May 4 and was placed under medical supervision at a clinic in Israel’s Ramla prison a few weeks later.

“We’re very concerned about his health right now … We know that he could die if something isn’t done,” Randa told Al Jazeera at the time.

“We’ve been told he cannot stand on his own or walk and that he’s shackled to the hospital bed.”

A few weeks later, the Israeli government approved a bill that allowed the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners if their lives are in danger.

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said prisoners on hunger strikes, namely Palestinians, pose a “threat” to Israel.

Israel released Adnan from jail on July 12 following a deal in which he agreed to end his strike. He was greeted by dozens of cheering relatives and supporters upon arrival to Arrabeh.

Khader Adnan
Khader Adnan, centre, is greeted by Palestinians after his release on July 12, 2015 [Majdi Mohammed/AP Photo]


On the morning of December 11, Israeli forces broke into Adnan’s house and arrested him. Prior to the arrest, Israeli soldiers beat, handcuffed and interrogated Adnan in a closed room inside his house.

Once the forces took him away, Adnan immediately launched a hunger strike.


On May 5, Adnan was arrested after being stopped by Israeli forces at a military checkpoint near Nablus and taken into custody, his wife told local media.


Adnan was arrested again on February 5, and he went on a hunger strike shortly after. He died on the 88th day.

Randa told AFP news agency that her husband was being held in a clinic at Ramla prison in central Israel.

“[He is] refusing any support, refusing medical examinations,” she said. “They [Israel] have refused to transfer him to a civilian hospital, they refused to allow his lawyer a visit,” she added.

Adnan’s death was termed an “act of assassination” by Palestinians, for whom Adnan -with his refusal of food as a means of protest – was a folk hero of sorts.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies