Sunday, August 09, 2020

Khader Adnan: A leader in the struggle for Palestinian prisonerís dignity

By George Mandarin - February 10, 2012
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Human rights] [Hunger Strike] [Israeli law] [Khader Adnan] [Ofer prison]

Photos by Dylan Collins

“For years Israel has been using administrative detention to lock up Palestinian activists without charge or trial,” Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East Ann Harrison

Khader Adnan has quickly become the focal point and symbolic face of the inherent injustice thousands of Palestinians face on a daily basis within the Israeli penal system.  Entering into the 55th day of his hunger strike, Adnan is protesting the Israeli Occupation Authority’s (IOA) illegal application of administrative detention and its inhumane treatment of Palestinian detainees.

Posters bearing his face with a lock over his mouth read, “My dignity is more important than food.”The 33 year-old post-graduate student was arrested on 17 December 2011 at his home in the village of Arrabe near Jenin in the occupied West Bank. Like all administrative detainees, no charges were, or have ever been, officially filed against him.

Posters bearing his face with a lock over his mouth read, “My dignity is more important than food.”

Adnan was transferred over the weekend, after a brief stint chained to a bed in Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center, to Zeif hospital in Safed (northern Israel). After 53 days without food, he is in a perilous medical condition. His lawyers, in a statement on Monday, argued the move was an IOA attempt to prevent legal visits as well as to keep the urgency of his health conditions from being disclosed.

On Tuesday 7 February, after refusing to review Adnan’s administrative detention order several times within the last few weeks, a military court officially reaffirmed the judgment, declaring that Adnan’s four-month administrative detention has been in effect since his hearing on 8 January.

Yesterday, 9 February, an Israeli court held a special appeal session for Adnan at Zeif medical center due to his rapidly deteriorating condition. Although the hearing lasted all day, the Israeli military appeals Judge Moshe Tirosh declared that she had not reached a decision on Khader’s appeal of his four-month administrative detention order. The Addameer Association for Prisoner Support and Human Rights reports that she is expected to maker her decision within a week, “though any delay may prove fatal.”

Adnan began his hunger strike the day after his detention in protest of the ill treatment encountered during his arrest and interrogation. He was kept in detention without a hearing or access to his lawyer for three and a half weeks. On 8 January, he was brought before an Israeli military court at Ofer prison near Ramallah. Without a trial or a lawyer Adnan was handed a pre-signed four-month administrative detention order, again – without any official charges.  In light of the absence of a fair judicial proceeding and the nebulous nature of his administrative detention, Adnan decided to continue his hunger strike indefinitely, that is, until it is rightfully repealed by the IOA.

Addameer’s report indicates that Adnan has not been allowed to shower, or change his clothes or underwear since his arrest. On 7 February, Adnan’s wife, Randa, and his two young daughters were given permission to visit him for the first time. His emaciated stature and the boils covering his face and tongue reportedly shocked the family but he was “mentally aware” enough to “fully express his love.”

Going on 55 days without food, Adnan’s health is at a seriously dangerous stage, one that will likely have irreversible consequences. Judge Moshe Tirosh’s decision to delay Adnan’s legal proceedings another week could very well cost the detainee his life

The movement grows

Khader Adnan’s hunger strike has sparked protests and solidarity hunger strikes across the West Bank and Gaza. The growing movement seeks dignity and humane treatment for all Palestinian prisoners.

Protests, orchestrated by Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, have been held outside Ofer prison in Ramallah almost every day for the past two weeks in opposition of Adnan’s illegal detention.

In a statement on Monday, Palestinian Minister of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, Issa Qaraqye said nearly 700 detainees in Ofer prison have begun an open hunger strike in support of Adnan. Eight of the hunger strikers (Raed Al-Sayegh, Muhtaseb Al-Assa, Ayman Al-Zaaqiq, Hassan Lafi, Mohammad Shahin, Ahmad Al-Ewiwi, Nael Halabi, and Firal Al-Bargouthi) have been placed in solitary confinement, as a punishment for their solidarity actions.

Amjad Najjar, head of the Hebron Prisoner’s Society, said that family visits for prisoners in Shata jail, in the sourthern West Bank, were cancelled on Monday after detainees refused meals in solidarity with Adnan. A collective punishment aimed at the entire prison.

Furthermore, as of Monday, Musa Adnan, father of Khader Adnan, announced his entry into an open-ended hunger strike in solidarity with his son. Solidarity actions are on the rise and the pressure surrounding Adnan’s detention, Israel’s exploitation of administrative detention, and its all in all inhumane treatment of Palestinian prisoners is growing.

According to the Addameer Association for Prisoner Support and Human Rights, as of 1 January 2012, there were 310 Palestinians being held in Israeli administrative detention. Adnan is just one prisoner of the approximate 4, 500 Palestinians currently being held within Israeli jails.

A Palestinian Authority (PA) report released yesterday revealed that approximately 40% of Palestinian men living in the occupied                      khader Adnans' father Photo by Dylan Collins
territories have been detained by Israel at least once in their lives.

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