A 34 year old Palestinian man’s life hangs in the balance as he enters his 45th day of hunger strike. Khader Adnan was so traumatised by his arrest and detention by Israeli forces on December 17th that he felt that he had no other option but to begin a hunger strike; but now almost 7 weeks into his protest his health and life are in serious jeopardy.
What would make a man risk his own health and life in this way? He began his hunger strike the day after his brutal arrest by Israeli forces when armed and masked Israeli soldiers viciously broke into his house, threatened and humiliated him and his family (his two children, elderly parents and pregnant wife were all present), and then shackled him before bundling him into the back of a jeep and transporting him to the illegal Israeli settlement of Mavo-Dotan. During his transportation he says that he was viciously assaulted by the soldiers and was repeatedly kicked and slapped while on the floor of the jeep.
Once he arrived at the settlement he was left outdoors in the freezing cold for hours before being taken to the detention centre. There he was shackled to an inclined chair in a very painful position and was humiliated while threats were again made against him and his family. This sort of treatment seems very familiar to all those who are aware of how Israeli soldiers uniformly treat Palestinian detainees. However, Adnan was so disturbed by his treatment and the threats against his family that he felt he had no other choice but to begin a hunger strike. Even during his hunger strike he continued to be interrogated and mistreated.
On the 8th January Adnan was given a 4 month Administrative Detention order. This means that his detention is based on “secret evidence” which even detainees and their lawyers are not given access too. Under Administrative Detention not only do you not know why you have been arrested but you can be held for six up to months at a time and then at the end of the six month period your incarceration can be extended for another six months and so on, indefinitely.
According to the World Health Medical Association guidelines on hunger strikes by day 42 the person will likely begin to lose their hearing and vision, their gums will begin to bleed as well as their oesophagus and intestines and their body will eventually cease to function. After 45 days, which is the point Adnan is at now, there is a high risk of cardiac arrest. Human rights organisations like Physicians for Human Rights are issuing urgent appeals for his immediate release, his right to see an independent doctor, and end to the punitive measures currently being used against him like sleep deprivation and solitary confinement and are urging that he be given the right to a fair trial.
Protestors stage solidarity vigil in front of Ofar military detention centre in Beitunia west of Ramallah.
MEMO Photographer: Ibtehal Mansour