Hunger Strike Day 66, Adnan’s Life at Stake in Struggle for Justice

Monday, 20 February 2012 12:13 Elena Viola for the Alternative Information Center (AIC)

As Palestinian administrative detainee Khader Adnan enters his 66th day of hunger strike, his very life is at stake in the struggle for justice. A profile of individual and collective struggle.




The Israeli High Court has scheduled a petitions’ hearing against the four month long administrative detention of hunger-striking prisoner Khader Adnan for 23 February.  If that day ever comes, it will be Adnan’s 69th day of hunger strike, the longest ever recorded for a Palestinian detainee.


Khader Adnan’s case has been a point of action since 18 December, which is the day following his imprisonment by Israel and the starting point of his prolonged battle against this detention.


The Palestinian people and prisoners support Adnan’s struggle, identifying themselves in this man who has undertaken a hunger strike not only to defend his own individual rights, but also those of his own people.


Local Palestinian NGOs including Addameer, Al Haq and Badil, just to name a few, are campaigning to save Adnan’s life in the name of a more comprehensive struggle against Israel’s practice of administrative detention of the Palestinian people. Currently languishing in Israeli prisons are 307 administrative detainees, including activists, journalists, Palestinian Legislative Council members, children, students and professors, all struggling under the same unjust procedure of administrative detention.


As Murad Jallah from Addameer: Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association says, “Administrative detention is one of the most dangerous tools in the hands of the Israeli occupying power because it aims not only to punish Palestinian individuals and to tear Palestinian society apart, but also to destroy any hope the Palestinian population has to fight and resist the Israeli occupation.”


Administrative detention is incarceration without charge or trial, and is authorised by an administrative and not judicial order.


“The Israeli occupation has gone to extremes against our people, especially prisoners,” wrote Adnan a few weeks ago in a paper that circulated through the leading national media outlets. “I have been humiliated, beaten and harassed by interrogators for no reason, and thus I swore to God I would fight the policy of administrative detention to which I and hundreds of my fellow prisoners fell prey.”


Khader Adnan is a 34 year old student at Birzeit University and a father of two. He is popular among the Palestinian youth for his appealing charisma, and represents a new political reality for the elders. In the past, he was the spokesperson for the political branch of the Islamic Jihad movement. It is for this reason that the Palestinian National Security Forces imprisoned him for several months.


“The secret file the Israeli authorities are now using against Adnan,” says Jallah, “is the one gathered by the PA more than two years ago. Two things should thus be evaluated. Firstly, Adnan has always been a political leader and there is no proof he has ever been involved within any military attack against Israel. Secondly, on 18 January the judge claimed that Adnan is still related to the Islamic Jihad, although there is no proof. Do we have to put someone in jail forever because he was once a leader of Islamic Jihad?”


On 17 December Adnan was imprisoned by Israel and, according to what his legal team reports, after being badly beaten, threatened and humiliated for a day, he decided he wouldn’t talk anymore to members of the Israeli General Security Services and he would refuse anything coming from them. First and foremost: food. On 18 December his odyssey thus began.


As Adnan’s physical condition deteriorated, he was moved to a hospital in Israel’s northern city of Safad. Several days ago Attorney Sahar Francis, Executive Director of Addameer, visited him there and, for the first time in his two month-long detention, Adnan was freed from handcuffs, washed and cleaned.


“In the rest of the world being in prison is the punishment,” says Jallah, “but in Israel it is just the beginning of an endless drama. In addition to the constant physical torture detainees are subjected to, there are many acts of psychological harassment with which prisoners must cope.”


“Israeli guards are used to smoking, eating and shouting in Adnan’s hospital room,” continues Jallah. “The director of the hospital once even told him ‘If you are a real man, you should quit drinking water!’ He should treat Adnan like a patient, not like an enemy!”


The main goal of Addameer, and of the other organisations working with it, is the defence of Palestinian detainees in accordance with humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention, and an end to administrative detention.


The clock is ticking for Adnan. An Israeli doctor from Physicians from Human Rights-Israel noted in a 14 February report that Adnan “is in immediate danger” and that he would not survive longer than 70 days without food. As widespread solidarity protests have erupted within Israeli jails and in Gaza and the West Bank, Palestinian officials are pressing international diplomats to save Adnan’s life.


When asked about the future, Jallah is brutally honest. “Although I shouldn’t reveal this,” he says, “we organisations have no hope Kahder Adnan will be released and we have already drafted a statement which will be issued on the day of his death. We believe Israel is totally unaccountable – it is in fact beyond any international law – and all the tools of the Palestinians to resist the Israeli occupation are failing one by one… What desperate gesture does the world expect Palestinians to do now?”  This is a question everyone should ask.

Related: We will not let you down Khader Adnan! ~ Photos & Action Alert
Related: All Posts about Khader Adnan

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