The Supreme Court will this week hear the case of a Palestinian prisoner who has been detained without trial and has refused food for more than 60 days, his lawyer told AFP yesterday.
Lawyer Jawad Bulus last week lodged an urgent appeal with the court to lift the so-called administrative detention order on his client Khader Adnan because of his rapidly deteriorating health. Adnan, a 34-year-old baker, was arrested by Israel on 17 December near the West Bank city of Jenin, where he had been spokesman for Islamic Jihad.
Held without being charged, he began refusing food a day after his arrest, and after 63 days of hunger strike is now said to be close to death.
On Saturday, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she was “following with great concern reports about the deteriorating health condition of Khader Adnan.”
Ashton also requested that the Israeli government “do all it can to preserve the health of Mr. Adnan in its continuing handling of this case.”
Yesterday, Adnan’s lawyer, family and two Israeli-Arab members of parliament visited him in the Sieff Hospital in Safed, where he is being held.
Knesset member Mohammed Barakeh of the Hadash party told AFP that Adnan was “in critical condition, but in high spirits.”
Barakeh said Adnan asked him to say that his hunger strike was for “all Palestinians who are in administrative detention, exposed to insults and humiliation.” According to Barakeh, Adnan said he was paying a price but “was not going to stop the strike until his release.”
Under Israeli law, a military tribunal can order an individual held without charge for up to six months at a time. Such orders can be extended by further six-month periods indefinitely, if approved at a new court hearing.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel said last week Adnan was “in immediate danger of death,” despite receiving liquid infusions.
Adnan’s death in detention would probably have severe ramifications with the Palestinian public solidarity rallies have been held in the West Bank and Gaza but accommodating his demands would put Israel in a predicament with other Palestinians.
“We can’t afford to have a situation in which every detainee or prisoner will be released because he decided to hunger strike or protest in another way,” an Israeli official said yesterday. “The decision to release someone should be made based on the issue at hand, whether or not it is the right thing to do.”
A spokeswoman for the Israel Prison Service said yesterday they were “constantly monitoring the situation.”
“We understand the implications of this case,” Sivan Weizman told AFP. She confirmed that there were currently approximately 300 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons under administrative detention.