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Khader Adnan, from Palestine, awakened the world

Yusur al-Bahrani

February 21, 2012

On February 21, Khader Adnan, a 33 year-old Palestinian political prisoner, ended his 66-day hunger strike—after winning his eventual release and shining a light on Israel’s illegal practice of administrative detention. The Israeli authorities announced that he would be released in two months, following a detention where he has been extremely ill-treated and humiliated.

Adnan was violently arrested while participating in a peaceful protest at the West Bank village of Arraba on December 17 and was placed under administrative detention without charges. He has been shackled to his bed by chains on both legs and one arm at Ziv hospital in the northern Israeli town of Safed. After 60 days of hunger strike, Israeli Physicians for Human Rights warned that Adnan was “in immediate danger of death.” Medics say that he lost over 40 per cent of his body weight during his hunger strike.

Administrative detention is a procedure under which detainees are held without charge or trial for periods of up to six months, which can be renewed repeatedly. Under administrative detention, a detainee is usually denied rights to fair trial.

Adnan’s protest is the longest hunger strike by a Palestinian prisoner. He was successful in spreading awareness about administrative detention procedures practiced by the Israeli authorities against Palestinian activists who are being detained with no charges.

According to Amnesty International, Adnan is one of 309 Palestinians currently held in administrative detention in Israeli prisons, including one man held for over five years and 24 Palestinian Legislative Council members. Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners protested by going on hunger strike in solidarity with Adnan.

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