CNN: Palestinian’s hunger strike puts spotlight on Israeli detentions

Kevin Flower, CNN, Feb 19, 2012

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A 33-year-old West Bank baker who has become a symbol of Palestinian resistance to Israeli detention policies entered the 63rd day of a hunger strike Saturday despite a doctor’s warning that he could die any time.

“Mr. Khader Adnan is in immediate danger of death,” according to a report issued this week by the Israeli branch of the nonprofit Physicians for Human Rights, which sent a doctor to examine him.
Adnan’s two-month protest is the longest hunger strike in Palestinian history and is a high-stakes gamble that increased scrutiny on Israel’s arrest and detention policies of Palestinians.

Adnan is accused of being the spokesman of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed organization responsible for killings scores of people in Israel in suicide bombings and rocket attacks.

Adnan was arrested by Israeli security forces December 17, 2011, at his home near the West Bank city of Jenin. He began a hunger strike after accusing interrogators of subjecting him to humiliation and verbal abuse, said Adnan’s wife, Randa.

The rights group has petitioned the Israeli court to release Adnan, saying that after 50 days of undergoing a hunger strike, the body’s major muscles and vital organs suffer decomposition. More than 70 days “does not permit survival,” the group said.
The Israeli military will not say what evidence it has against Adnan and has refused to release details about his arrest, saying only he is being held on an “administrative warrant for activities that threaten regional security.”

To date, no charges have been filed, Adnan’s attorney said.
Adnan is being held in administrative detention, a controversial Israeli practice that allows authorities to detain people indefinitely. There is no requirement to charge detainees held under this practice.

At the end of 2011, Israel had 307 Palestinians under administrative detention, according to B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group. That was a 40% increase in the number of detentions from a year earlier, the group said.

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