Palestinian Hunger Striker Released From Hospital

Palestinian woman who has refused food for the past month to protest her administrative detention by Israel is in grave danger of dying, a medical rights group says.

A Palestinian prisoner who became famous after he went on a 66-day hunger strike was released from the hospital on Tuesday.

Islamic Jihad operative Khader Adnan went on a hunger strike in December to protest Israel's administrative detention policy - a provision that allows the country to hold detainees for an unlimited period of time without trial or formal charges. He ended the strike last month after a deal was reached in which the state would not request to extend his detention past April 17.

Khader Adnan
Courtesy Pannet

Meanwhile, a Palestinian woman who has refused food for the past month to protest her administrative detention by Israel is in grave danger of dying, a medical rights group said Tuesday. Hana Shalabi has lost 14 kilograms (31 pounds ), her muscles are wasting and she is in excruciating pain, said Ran Cohen of nonprofit group Physicians for Human Rights, which has provided her a doctor. She has taken only water since her arrest on February 16.

Woman hunger striker in grave condition

"We are worried. Her physician has demanded she be transferred to hospital," said Cohen. Israel Prison Service spokeswoman Sivan Weizman said that for the time being, Shalabi is being monitored at a prison clinic.

Shalabi, 30, a supporter of the militant Islamic Jihad group, is scheduled to be released in another three months.

Adnan, who continued his hunger strike longer than any other Palestinian detainee before him, was hospitalized at Rebecca Sieff Hospital, Safed, in early February when his doctors said his life was in serious danger. He remained there until yesterday.

"Adnan's condition is very good," said the hospital's Dr. Raymond Farah. "He can eat, stand and walk without assistance."

Adnan, 33, had to undergo an operation to fix a bowel obstruction that was caused by the protracted hunger strike.

The strike transformed Adnan into a Palestinian hero, with thousands demonstrating in support of the once-obscure bearded baker. The Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad, for which he once served as a spokesman, had vowed revenge if Adnan died, possibly by firing rockets into Israel from Gaza. It is unclear if Adnan ever participated in any attacks.

Hospital director Dr. Oscar Embon said after Adnan's release that "Rebecca Sieff Hospital is committed to giving medical care to everyone, and our medical staff did their utmost to ensure his good health and save his life, irrespective of his background.

"We overcame myriad problems that resulted from the detainee's hunger strike," he added, "and he now walks out in good condition."

Upon his release from hospital, Adnan was taken to an Israel Prison Service detention center.

Israeli military officials say they use administrative detention to hold people who pose an immediate risk to the country's security, or when displaying incriminating evidence would reveal Israeli intelligence-gathering networks.

More than 300 of some 6,000 Palestinians currently held by Israel on security-related charges are in administrative detention. Rights activists say international law allows this practice only in exceptional cases and that Israel blatantly violates these restrictions.