Monday, June 08, 2015

Khader Adnan: Hunger Striking for Justice

Khader Adnan: Hunger Striking for Justice

by Stephen Lendman

Adnan is one of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israel's gulag. 

He's held along with hundreds of others uncharged in administrative detention - a lawless practice Israel uses to imprison Palestinians for their activism, not any crimes they committed.

He was detained earlier uncharged after his lawless December 2011 arrest. He became a global cause celebre after refusing food for 66 days.

On April 17, 2012, Palestinian Prisoners Day, he was released - but not freed from Israeli persecution.

In August 2014, he was rearrested uncharged - again lawlessly administratively detained. In January, his detention was extended for another six months.

Following his initial arrest, he had three Israeli Military Court hearings. The first reviewed his arrest. The next two concerned so-called (nonexistent) secret evidence from two supposed witnesses - both unnamed.

He remained administratively detained until freed after refusing food for 66 days. He was arrested and detained five times earlier. After his February 2012 release, he wrote a letter for public release saying the following:

"The Israeli occupation has gone to extremes against our people, especially prisoners. 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."

"The only thing I can do is offer my soul to God, as I believe righteousness and justice will eventually triumph over tyranny and oppression." 

"I hereby assert that I am confronting the occupiers not for my own sake as an individual, but for the sake of thousands of prisoners who are being deprived of their simplest human rights while the world and international community look on." 

"It is time the international community and the UN support prisoners and force the State of Israel to respect international human rights and stop treating prisoners as if they were not humans."

His wife and lawyers explained his treatment in detention included punishing interrogations, torture, other forms of abuse, strip searches and lengthy solidarity confinement periods.

In early May, Adnan again began hunger-striking for justice. He's only ingesting water and salt - no food or supplements.

He's held in solitary confinement is Israel's infamous Ramale prison hospital. Prisoners call it the "slaughterhouse." Adnan is uncharged and untried. He committed no crimes.

Administrative detention contravenes international human rights and humanitarian law. It lawlessly deprives detainees of their right to due process and judicial fairness. 

Israel operates by its own rules. Palestinians are governed under repressive military laws - deprived of civil justice afforded Jews alone.

In its latest review of Israel,  the UN Human Rights Committee urged "end(ing) the practice of administrative detention and the use of secret evidence in administrative detention proceedings, and ensure that individuals subject to administrative detention orders are either promptly charged with a criminal offence, or released."

Adnan began hunger-striking on May 5. His wife Randa said he can "no longer move and he is beginning to lose hair, in addition to other manifestations of fatigue causing concern." He suffers from severe pain in his eyes.

She complained about the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) deliberately withholding information about his health.

She explained the reason Khadar and other administrative detainees hunger-strike isn't to assure they won't be arrested again.

In Israel, it's common practice. Adnan is striking against his administrative detention renewal for another six months - a process able to keep him imprisoned indefinitely.

During his 2012 66-day hunger strike, Randa said "Khader told me about the gnawing hunger at first, then the constant vomiting…after he (passed) 40 days, then the dizziness and fatigue in his joints (after) 50 days."

"I know what type of pain he is passing through every moment," she explained.

Palestinian Prisoners Society Jenin director Ragheb Abu Diyak said "(w)e do not count on the Israelis to reach for a quick solution for Khadar or any of the other administrative detainees."

"On the contrary, they will most likely strive to complicate and prolong the chance to (reach) a deal…" Diyak called 2015 the worst year for Palestinian prisoners so far in terms of brutalizing conditions they face.

A possible mass hunger strike including hundreds of sick prisoners looms, Diyak said. If it happens, "it will be a humanitarian disaster waiting to take place as the world continues its silence."

Randa explained "pressure from the international community affects the Israeli prison system a lot more than" what goes on inside like hunger strikes.

"Israelis are obsessed with their image to the outside world. This time (so far) it's…Khader (alone) facing off against the Israeli Prison Service with no mediators, no human rights organizations, and no lawyers by his side ready to undertake the steps that they did previously on his first hunger strike."

She called inaction by Physicians for Human Rights and Doctors Without Borders "extremely disappointing."

In 2012, they supported Adnan. They visited him, examined him, kept close watch on his health condition once he passed 50 days. Not so far now.

Randa said everything going on took a toll on her. She's determined not to give in. "To say that life right now is tough and daunting is not enough," she explained. "My husband is not a mythical figure. He is real and a well-loved humble man."

"To me, Khader is the most important person in my life. His triumph is the most important in the world to me. Everything will be compensated. All I want is his well-being and his return to us, God willing."

He's putting his life on the line for justice. He believes it's his only chance for freedom. He deserves universal support.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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