Ashton 'concerned' for Palestinian hunger striker

Prisoner Khader Adnan on 63rd day of hunger strike; EU foreign policy chief "concerned" over use of administrative detention.

February 18, 2012 16:47
1 minute read.
Palestinians holding poster of Khader Adnan

Palestinians holding poster of Khader Adnan 390 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

The European Union on Friday expressed concern for the deteriorating health of Palestinian hunger striker, Islamic Jihad leader Khader Adnan, who has refused to eat for 63 days in protest of his administrative detention. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, in a written statement, called on Israel to do all it can to preserve the health of Adnan.

The statement added a reiteration by Ashton of "the EU's longstanding concern about the extensive use by Israel of administrative detention without formal charge. Detainees have the right to be informed of charges underlying any detention and to a fair trial, she added.

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Also Friday, several thousand Palestinians rallied in Gaza and the West Bank in support of Adnan.

"We are all Khader Adnan," chanted crowds gathered in the Gaza Strip, with activists from the main political parties joining forces in a rare display of Palestinian unity.

Adnan, 33, has been refusing to eat since mid-December following his arrest in the West Bank. He is being held under so-called "administrative detention," which means Israel can detain him indefinitely without trial or charge.

Islamic Jihad, which advocates the destruction of the State of Israel, has said it will escalate violence if Adnan dies, following reports that his health was deteriorating.

"We will pursue our Jihad and resistance. We will sail in the sea of blood and martyrdom until we land on the shore of pride and dignity," top Islamic Jihad leader Nafez Azzam said during a Friday sermon at Gaza's oldest al-Omari mosque.

Physicians for Human Rights in Israel (PHR), which has been monitoring Adnan's condition in an Israeli hospital, said on Friday he was "in immediate danger of death," adding that he had suffered "significant muscular atrophy."

The IDF has said in a statement that Adnan was arrested "for activities that threaten regional security." It has not given further details.

Adnan owns a bakery and a fruit and vegetable shop in his West Bank village, Arabeh. He has served as a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad, which describes him as a local leader.

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