Amnesty: Charge or free Palestinian hunger striker

Rights group fears Khader Adnan could die after more than 50 days on hunger strike, calls on Israel to promptly grant trial.

Palestinian prisoners in Israel's Ketziot prison 311 (R) (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)
Palestinian prisoners in Israel's Ketziot prison 311 (R)
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)
Palestinian hunger striker or release him from administrative detention, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
Amnesty said that in light of fears that Hader Adnan, 33, could die following more than 50 days of refusing food, Israel must either release him or charge him with a criminal offense and promptly try him.
In a statement, the human rights group’s deputy director for the Middle East, Ann Harrison, criticized the practice of administrative detention, in which Palestinians arrested during military operations in the West Bank can be held without charge.
“Military commanders can renew the detention orders repeatedly, so in effect detainees can be held indefinitely. The process violates their right to a fair trial, which is guaranteed by international law Israel is obliged to uphold,” Harrison said.
Ishai Menuchin, executive director of the Public Committee against Torture in Israel, said his organization sees administrative detention as a form of abuse and that cutting off detainees from the outside was unacceptable.
He said detainees were told they would be kept isolated without charge until they confessed, creating a warped definition of guilt.
“This is not a system that ensures that Israeli authorities find the truth – it’s a system that ensures they find an indictment,” Menuchin said.
Adnan has been on a hunger strike since his arrest on December 17 in the West Bank village of Arrabe. He is widely believed to be a prominent member of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, although the Shin Bet (General Security Services) did not confirm this allegation.
It said that since he was being held in administrative detention, it preferred not to comment on his case.