Adnar ends hunger strike as Israel backs down, fresh prisoner rights' struggles break out

Issue 

Amnesty International has called on Israel to immediately release Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, who has been held since December without charge under Israel's infamous policy of “administrative detention”.

The call came after Adnan, near death, ended a 66-day hunger strike when Israel signed a deal on February 22 agreeing to release the 33-year-old father of two by April 17.

However, Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel said Adnar's health remained precarious.

On February 23, Electronic Intifada said Palestinian woman Hana Yahya al-Shalabi was on hunger strike against her renewed “administrative detention” without charge or trial by Israel.

Al-Shalabi had spent two years jailed under an administrative detention order before being freed last October in a deal struck between Hamas and Israel. However, Israel arrested her again on February 19 and are holding her without charge.

Inspired by Adnan's stance, April 17 will become a Day of International Action for the rights of jailed Palestinians, Electronic Intifada said on February 23.

Amnesty said: “Israeli authorities have revealed no evidence justifying [Adnan's] continued detention.”

On February 22, Electronic Intifada said: “[Palestinian prisoner rights group] Addameer said the deal appears to meet minimum conditions Adnan had previously communicated to lawyers.

“According to the deal, Adnan will be released on 17 April — three weeks before the original 8 May expiry of his current administrative detention order. But under the deal his administrative detention order would not be renewed. Israel has typically renewed administrative detention orders repeatedly.”

But the article reported Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Interim Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “A deal which will see Khader Adnan released on 17 April unless significant new evidence emerges is insufficient when he needs urgent medical treatment to save his life now.”

Luther said: “Khader cannot constitute a ‘security threat’ in his current condition and should be released from custody immediately. The Israeli authorities have revealed no evidence justifying his continued detention.”

Electronic Intifada said Amnesty repeated calls for Israel to end its practice of administrative detention. Under such orders, more than 300 Palestinians, including 20 elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, are indefinitely detained without charge or trial.

Amnesty said one man had been held for more than five years under an administrative detention order.

Electronic Intifada said on February 23: “The list of organizations that have endorsed the call to support Khader Adnan’s fight for the rights of Palestinian political prisoners is growing.

“UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights Richard Falk expressed his support to the call in an email to the initiators.

“South African former political prisoners who resisted apartheid have added their weight to the call, including Ahmed Kathrada — a veteran of the South African liberation struggle who spent more than 26 years in prison.”

The initiators of the day of action call for the immediate release of all Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel on grounds they have been targeted by an unfair and unequal legal system.

They call on Israel to immediately practices including: administrative detention; torture; solitary confinement and isolation; the use of military courts in the occupied Palestinian territory that illegally try civilians; and the use of secret evidence.