Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Palestinian Khader Adnan ends heroic hunger strike after 66 days

 Khader Adnan, the 33-year old baker from a village near Jenin op the West Bank, who was holding a hunger strike since his arrest on 17 December against the way he was treated and against  the so called 'administrative detention' provisions under which he was held, confirmed Tuesday evening that he ends his strike after 66 days. Adnan did so after his lawyers agreed with Israel that he will be released on 17 April,  some three weeks earlier than 8 May as was indicated in the original administrative order. According to a Justice Ministry statement, after that he will not be rearrested unless new evidence will be found against him in the meantime'.
 The prisoners society Addameer said in a statement:

 Khader previously stated to Addameer lawyers that though he was calling for his immediate and unconditional release, the minimum requirements he would consider for ending his hunger strike would be the guarantee that he would not receive a new administrative detention order and that his duration of detention would be considered from the date of his arrest on 17 December 2011 and not from the date that he received his administrative detention order on 8 January 2012. The provisions of the deal reached today as announced by the lawyer involved do meet these minimum requirements.

  A hearing at the Supreme Court that was scheduled to take place on Tuesday morning (it was brought forward from the original date on Thursday) was cancelled due to the fact that there was a deal. With the deal Israel averted the necessity to let the High court rule about the question whether administrative detention is admissible, which in itself would have been a precedent. Israel also averted the problems it would have been facing had Adnan died. Prisoners had announced a massive action beforehand and demonstrations d throughout Palestine were to be expected.
 Adnan, who is Ziv Hospital in Safed, held the strike longer than anyone before him in Palestine and was on the threshold of death (Bobby Sands the legendary hunger striker of the IRA in Belfast, died in 1981 after a hunger strike that was exactly as long as the period that Adnan held out, 66 days). Addameer voiced concern for his health situation, which still needs to be handled wit extreme care in view of his weakened condition. 

Adnan's pregnant wife Randa was overfilled with joy.   This is of course a victory,” she said in a telephone interview with the press agency AP. “The Israelis had no proof and that’s why they’ve agreed to these four months. He’s shown by his steadfastness that we can be victorious.”

What Adnan for certain has achieved with his action, is that the way Israel uses administrative detention, which is considered illegal under international law, against people it wants to have out of the way. Israeli officials, like spokesman Mark Regev and others, have called Adnan a 'terrorist',  based on the fact that he is a member of the Islamic Jihad. However, they could not hide the fact that Adnan has never been involved in any violent acts  and that Israel is simply unable to bring charges against him.  

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