High Court to hear hunger-striker Adnan’s petition

Balad MK Jamal Zahalka visits Palestinian prisoner who began hunger strike on December 18 to protest what he said was abusive treatment suffered during his arrest.

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February 20, 2012 02:15
3 minute read.
Palestinians holding poster of Khader Adnan

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

 
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The High Court of Justice will on Thursday hear a petition filed by a Palestinian entering the 64th day of a hunger strike, the court announced on Sunday.

Khader Adnan will be on the 68th day of his hunger strike by the time the court hears his petition. As with all High Court hearings, there is no guarantee that the justices will make a decision on the same day.

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Last week, Adnan filed a petition to the High Court after the Ofer Military Court of Appeals rejected his appeal to release him from administrative detention.

Last Thursday, Justice Uzi Vogelman ruled that the petition could go ahead and would be heard before a panel of three justices.

Vogelman ordered the respondents in the petition – the military court of appeals, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the IDF military commander in the West Bank – to file their response within 24 hours of Thursday’s hearing.

He also requested that Adnan, who is currently chained to a hospital bed in Safed’s Galilee Medical Center, should be brought to the hearing if his medical situation permits it.

Meanwhile, as Adnan’s attorney Jawad Boulus visited him in the hospital on Sunday, Physicians for Human Rights and Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer slammed the High Court’s decision to hold the hearing on Thursday – which they say could be too late for Adnan – calling on the court to reschedule it for an earlier time.

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“The High Court of Justice was provided with a detailed medical report prepared on February 14 by an Israeli-accredited doctor on behalf of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel,” Physicians for Human Rights spokeswoman Yael Marom said on Sunday evening, adding that the petition had included an “elaborate medical report” which claimed Adnan is in “immediate danger of death.”

Adnan’s lawyers filed the petition after the military court of appeals refused to cancel the four-month administrative detention order against Adnan, who was arrested for “activities that threaten state security” according to the IDF. On February 9, military court Judge Moshe Tirosh found that the order, which was made on the basis of a confidential report, was balanced.

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. Adnan later announced that it is in protest of the entire practice of administrative detention in the West Bank.

“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, a member of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, has become a cause celebre in the Palestinian territories in recent weeks, and protests have been held in support of his cause in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

While a number of Palestinians in Israeli jails have announced their intention to go on hunger strike in solidarity with Adnan, a Prisons Service spokeswoman said Sunday that only a handful had carried out such threats and for only a few days at a time each.

MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) also visited Adnan in the hospital on Sunday. He said Adnan is in “critical and dangerous” condition and has lost 30 kilos.

Zahalka called for Adnan’s immediate release, saying that Adnan will not eat unless he is put on trial. He added that Adnan’s administrative arrest without a trial is a crime.

In response to Zahalka’s visit, MK Danny Danon (Likud) said that even if the Balad MK joins the hunger strike, it will not stop Israel from defending its citizens.

“Zahalka’s loyalty is to terrorists and murderers and not the State of Israel,” Danon said. “This is the continuation of traitorous provocations by Arab MKs. Zahalka joins [MKs Haneen] Zoabi, [Ahmed] Tibi and [Ibrahim] Sarsour in praising terrorism against Israel. They belong with Hamas and not in the Knesset.”

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