Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dying to Live: Khader Adnan's 63rd day of hunger strike against Administrative Detention


Dear friends,
as many of you will be aware, Palestinian political prisoner Khader Adnan has entered his 63rd of a hunger strike.  Khader has been on hunger strike since his arrest in December 2011, protesting his arrest and the conditions under which he is being held.  He is on of more than 300 Palestinian prisoners who are being held under what is known as Administrative Detention - that is he is being held with out charge or trail.  

Palestinian Prisoner support group, Addameer, who is running a public campaign against Administrative Detentin notes that:
Administrative detention is a procedure under which detainees are held without charge or trial. In the occupied Palestinian West Bank, the Israeli army carries out administrative detention on the basis of Military Order 1226 (1988). This order empowers military commanders to detain an individual for up to six months if they have “reasonable grounds to presume that the security of the area or public security require the detention.” On or just before the expiry date, the detention order is frequently renewed. This process can be continued indefinitely.
Israeli military and civil laws related to the administrative detention orders are based on the British Mandate Emergency Law for the year 1945.  No definition of “public security” is given and the initial six month period can be extended by additional six-month periods indefinitely. Administrative detention orders are issued either at the time of arrest or at some later date and are often based on secret evidence collected by the Israeli Security Agency (ISA).  Neither the detainee, nor the detainee’s lawyers are given access to the secret evidence.
Administrative detention has resulted in Palestinian political prisoners being held for years without charge or trail and without ever knowing the evidence against them.  The longest person to be held under Adminstrative detention was Ali Jamal from Jenin who spent seven years in administrative detention in the 1970s.  Hana Al Shalabi is the longest serving Palestinian female political prisoner in administrative detention having been held for over two years. Ayed Dudeen, who was one of the longest serving administrative detainees in recent times had been held for over three and half years.  He was released in mid 2011 only to be rearrested under an Administrative Detention order 40 days later.  

Addameer notes that International Law prohibits arbitary arrest or detention and is used by Israel as a form of collective punishment which is illegal under international  law. Addmeer notes that during the period of March 2002 to October 2002, Israeli Occupying Forces arrested over 15,000 Palestinians during mass arrest campaigns, rounding up males in cities and villages between the ages of 15 to 45. In October 2002, there were over 1,050 Palestinians in administrative detention. By the beginning of March 2003, Israel held more than one thousand Palestinians in administrative detention. In 2007, Israel held a monthly average of 830 administrative detainees, which was one hundred higher than in 2006. Furthermore, during the PLC elections of 2006,Israel placed dozens of candidates from the Islamic ‘Change and Reform Party’ in administrative detention. Some of them are imprisoned to this day.
Over the years, only nine Israeli citizens from settlements in the West Bank have reportedly been detained for periods up to six months.

Addameer notes that  administrative detainees are political prisoners, however, they are not separated from the rest of the (criminal) prisoner population within Israeli jails.  Nor do they benefit from special food or have the right to wear their own clothes to which they are entitled by the Israeli law. Prison personnel usually do not receive specific training on how to deal with administrative detainees and on international law regarding administrative detainees. Administrative detainees in Israel must endure severe restrictions on their right to education, rights to communicate with families and receive visits, and right to adequate medical treatment

In recent weeks, a number of the Irish Maze political prisoners who engaged in a similar hunger strike against similar conditions have sent messages of solidarity to Khader Adnan and called for his immediate release.  The Irish prisoners, were members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and were also held under a similar form of administrative detention known as "internment".  The protest began as the
blanket protest in 1976, when the British government withdrew Special Category Status for convicted paramilitary prisoners. In 1978, after a number of attacks on prisoners leaving their cells to "slop out", the dispute escalated into the dirty protest, where prisoners refused to leave their cells to wash and covered the walls of their cells with excrement. In 1980, seven prisoners participated in the first hunger strike, which ended after 53 days.

The second hunger strike took place in 1981 and resulted in 10 hungerstrikers dying, including Bobby Sands who had been elected as a Member of the British parliament during the strike.  More than 100,000 people attended Bobby Sands funeral. The hunger strike draw attention to the illegal conditions under which the political prisoners were being held and radicalised the Irish struggle further.   

I have included below, three videos from two of the Irish hunger strikers who have sent messages of solidarity to Khader Adnan and his family and the brother of Francis Hughes who died during the second Irish hunger strike.

You can also send messages of solidarity to Khader Adnan and his family via twitter or to:

You can read more about Khader Adnan's protest here (report from Al Jazeera).   Protests throughout the West Bank, Gaza and internationally have been taking place in solidarity with Khader, you can read about some of them here (report by Haggai Mattar on +972 magazine)

in solidarity, Kim


Protest in the West Bank
Protest outside Ofer Prison


Tommy McKearney was the first of the Irish hungerstrikers to send a message of solidarity to Khader Adnan.  McKearney took part in the first Irish hunger strike in 1980, along with Brendan Hughes, Tom McFeeley, John Nixon, Sean McKenna, Leo Green and Raymong McCartney.

Raymond McCartney is a  former Irish hunger striker and current Member of Northern Ireland’s Legislative Assembly for Sinn Féin. McCartney, along with six other prisoners (Brendan Hughes, Tom McFeeley, John Nixon, Sean McKenna, Tommy McKearney and Leo Green) participated in what became known as the First Hunger Strike in 1980 in order to attain political status under the British occupation.

Oliver Hughes, the brother of Francis Hughes who was one of the 10 hunger strikers who died during the second Maze hunger strikes sends a message of solidarity to Khader Adnan. 

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