Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan ends 66-day hunger strike (GUARDIAN UK) Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem 02/22/12)
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Adnan agrees to start taking food immediately, after deal reached for
his release from Israeli custody on 17 April
A Palestinian prisoner whose life was in danger after he refused food
for 66 days agreed on Tuesday to end his hunger strike after a deal
was struck for him to be released at the end of a four-month period
Khader Adnan, whose protest about being detained without charge
attracted worldwide attention, will be freed on 17 April in an
agreement that avoided Israel´s supreme court having to scrutinise
and rule on the validity of his imprisonment.
"There is a deal. [Adnan] will stop his hunger strike. They will not
extend his administrative detention and he will be free on 17 April,"
said a spokeswoman for the Israeli justice ministry. The Palestinian
prisoners´ minister, Issa Qarage, confirmed the deal.
The agreement was reached less than an hour before the supreme court
hearing was scheduled to begin. It had been brought forward by 48
hours amid fears that Adnan might die before the case could be heard.
Adnan, 33, a baker from a village near Jenin and a member of the
militant group Islamic Jihad, began his hunger strike on 18 December
in protest at alleged abuse during interrogation following his arrest
a day earlier. An Israeli military court sentenced him to four
months´ "administrative detention", allowing the authorities to
imprison him without charge and without having released to his
lawyers any evidence against him.
A doctor who examined Adnan last week on behalf of Physicians for
Human Rights said he had lost about one-third of his body weight and
that his life was in danger although he was lucid. The prisoner was
shackled to his hospital bed by both legs and one arm, the doctor
Adnan´s case focused attention on Israel´s use of administrative
detention orders against Palestinians. There are more than 300
prisoners held without charge in Israeli jails. Israel´s supreme
court has previously upheld the practice, backing the state´s
argument that it is necessary for security reasons and to protect its
network of informants.
Adnan´s hunger strike sparked solidarity protests across the West
Bank and Gaza, and sympathy hunger strikes by other Palestinian
Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign affairs chief, said at the weekend
that Adnan´s case was of "great concern".
"Detainees have the right to be informed about the charges underlying
any detention and be subject to a fair trial," she said in a
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev defended the use of
administrative detention orders, saying Adnan was "no boy scout".
Other western countries used similar orders, he said in an interview
According to the Israeli human rights group B´Tselem, "over the
years, Israel has held thousands of Palestinians in administrative
detention, for periods ranging from several months to several years".
Under international law, the measure can be used "only in the most
exceptional cases, as the last means available for preventing danger
that cannot be thwarted by less harmful means", it said.
Adnan, who is in an Israeli hospital, agreed to start taking food
immediately, his lawyers said. Under the terms of the deal, his
release is conditional on "no new additional substantial evidence"
emerging before 17 April. (guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media
Limited 2012 02/22/12)
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