EU, UN decry detention of Palestinian hunger striker

Prisoner Khader Adnan on 63rd day of hunger strike; UN's Falk warns of "third intifada" if Adnan dies.

February 18, 2012 17:24
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 and the United Nations 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 could 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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UN Special Rapporteur to the Palestinian Territories Richard Falk said Friday that "if Adnan is to die, a third intifada is to rise." In an interview with Egyptian daily Al-Ahram. Falk decried the conditions in which Israel is holding the Palestinian prisoner, saying that if he died as a result of the strike he would be considered a martyr.

Falk also claimed that the international community was being hypocritical, comparing the "fuss" made over the case of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, who was held by by Hamas for over five years, to the relative silence surrounding Adnan.

Falk called for international intervention, specifically by Egypt, to ensure that Adnan stays alive.

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.

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.

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.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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