Palestinian prisoner ends hunger strike

2012-02-21 15:46

Ramallah - A Palestinian held without trial by Israel agreed on Tuesday to end his 66-day hunger strike after Israeli authorities promised to release him in April in a deal that avoided judicial review of the detention policy.

"There is a deal. [Khader Adnan] will stop his hunger strike. They will not extend his administrative detention and he will be free on April 17," an Israeli Justice Ministry spokesperson said.

Issa Qaraqe, the Palestinian minister of prisoner affairs, confirmed Adnan would be released on that date and end his hunger strike now.

Adnan, aged 33, has been refusing to eat since mid-December and doctors voiced fears about his deteriorating health.

Israel's High Court, in light of the agreement, cancelled at the last minute a scheduled hearing of the Islamic Jihad member's appeal against his imprisonment, avoiding a high-profile examination of the issue of detention without trial.

The court has upheld the procedure for decades, siding with the government's argument that detention without trial is a necessary security measure that can be used to avoid exposing confidential and information in trials.

Longest strike

Human rights groups have condemned the measure and the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, issued a statement on Saturday saying she was following Adnan's case with "great concern".

She reiterated "the EU's long-standing concern about the extensive use by Israel of administrative detention without formal charge".

West Bank officials said Adnan's hunger strike was the longest staged by a Palestinian detainee and his Jihadist supporters had warned of violent reprisals against Israel if he died.

Adnan's case had put a spotlight on Israel's so-called "administrative detention" that enables it to hold suspects without trial or charge indefinitely. A local rights group, al Haq, said 315 Palestinians were being detained under the edict.

The Israeli army has said in a statement he was arrested "for activities that threaten regional security", but it did not elaborate.

  • Dirk - 2012-02-21 19:07

    Pity, I was hoping to see a world record.

  • Jaba - 2012-02-21 20:22

    I am utterly amazed how everyone is up in arms about this guy's hunger strike - students in Iran are demonstrating outside the UN office in Tehran - Gaza is prepard to take him - but in the same time span as the hunger strike the 7,000 Syrians that have been killed by their own President and are still being bombarded - no one raises their voice - what is the world coming to : 1 man doesn't want to eat - everyone is protesting - 7,000 are killed and no-one bothers...

      elemental777 - 2012-02-21 20:36

      Its elemental my dear Watson, if its one nationality against anotherthen its terribly rascist, but when its an internal conflict then pls leave us alone to sort it out by our own evil means. Look at the Arab League's historical record over the past decade.

      Fred - 2012-02-21 21:43

      Jaba's point brings in your insensitivity to the Syrians' plight against a barbaric cruel dictator in control of state resources, including its military, that actually belong to the Syrian people.

  • Fred - 2012-02-22 13:02

    Gilad Shalit was detained for 5 years in Gaza without trial by Hamas or access to the Red Cross or visits from his family. Sounds worse than a mere few months of a potential Jihadist suicide bomber called Khader.

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