Israel released Palestinian administrative detainee Khader Adnan late Tuesday night.
Adnan, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was taken by authorities to the Salem Checkpoint, after which he proceeded to his home in a village next to Jenin in the West Bank. He was greeted by hundreds of supporters upon reaching his home.
Adnan began his hunger strike on December 18 to protest what he said was abusive treatment suffered during his arrest a day earlier at his home in the West Bank village of Arrabe outside Jenin. He later announced that the strike was in protest of the entire practice of administrative detention in the West Bank.
The administrative detainee agreed to eat food only after his lawyers struck a deal with the state last month, just hours before the High Court of Justice was set to demand that he either be charged or released. His strike ended up lasting 66 days.
The term “administrative detention” refers to arrests carried out by the IDF on behalf of the Shin Bet, in which the detainee is not informed of the charges against him and is not brought before a judge to contest his arrest. The detentions are typically ordered for up to six months, but can be extended indefinitely after the end of that period.
According to Prisons Service figures, there were 307 Palestinians in administrative detention at the end of December 2011, up from 219 in January 2011. Adnan was given a four-month administrative detention order on January 8, and has said he will not end his strike until he is either released or told what charges he faces.
Adnan's release came on the same day that some 1,200 Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails announced the start of a mas hunger strike, marking the Palestinian Authority's 'Prisoner Day.' A further 1,100 prisoners returned their daily meals on Tuesday, but did not say they were beginning a hunger strike, the Prisons Service said.
Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip marked 'Prisoner Day' by holding a number of rallies rallies in solidarity with the striking prisoners.
Joanna Paraszczuk and Ben Hartman contributed to this report.