Israel rejects Palestinian hunger-striker's appeal

 

A Palestinian prisoner who human rights organisations say may be "approaching death" after 58 days on hunger strike has lost his appeal against an order holding him for four months without trial.

An Israeli military appeals court ruled yesterday that Khader Adnan, 33, who is shackled to a hospital bed in the town of Safed, Galilee, will have to serve his full term of detention – even though he has not been told why he is being held.

Mr Adnan began refusing food the day after his arrest at his home in the village of Arrabe near Jenin in the occupied West Bank on 17 December. He continued refusing food after being subjected to what his lawyers say was physical abuse, threats of assault, insults, prolonged interrogation and "unsanitary" conditions of detention.

The case has overtones of the hunger strikes by IRA prisoners in the early 1980s, 10 of whom died after not eating for between 55 and 75 days, according to a British Medical Association study.

Mr Adnan's wife, Radna, told Human Rights Watch that her husband had been arrested nine times since 1999, and was convicted of being a spokesman for the militant organisation Islamic Jihad.

The rights group said it condemned the armed wing of Islamic Jihad's attacks on Israeli civilians as war crimes. But it pointed out that Israel has not claimed Mr Adnan has participated in such attacks or been charged with any other crime.

Israel's prison service has insisted that Mr Adnan is being treated humanely in accordance with his "definition as a security-administrative prisoner".

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