Amnesty International Urges Israel to Release Palestinian on Hunger Strike, Or Charge and Try Him Promptly

Press Release
February 6, 2012

Amnesty International Urges Israel to Release Palestinian on Hunger Strike, Or Charge and Try Him Promptly

Administrative Detention Violations Right to Fair Trial, Says Organization

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, strimel@aiusa.org

(New York) – Amid fears a Palestinian detainee could die after more than 50 days on a hunger strike, Amnesty International today called on the Israeli authorities to release the man or charge him with a recognizable criminal offense and promptly try him.

Khader Adnan, 33, has reportedly lost more than 44 pounds since he began his hunger strike, and his health has reached a critical stage. On January 29, he was visited by doctors from Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, who warned that his life is at risk. He has since been denied further examination by independent doctors.

Adnan was arrested December 7 at his home in the occupied West Bank, after Israeli security forces burst into his home in the early hours of the morning.

Mr Adnan, a baker, is allegedly affiliated with the Islamic Jihad movement.

On Wednesday, a military court reviewed Adnan’s case but the judge has yet to announce whether he should be released, his detention shortened or the order to detain him confirmed.

“For years Israel has been using administrative detention to lock up Palestinian activists without charge or trial," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East.

“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 that Israel is obliged to uphold.”

Adnan, who is also a post-graduate student, has been on hunger strike since December 18 in protest against his ill-treatment, the conditions of his detention, and the policy of administrative detention.

The Israeli military commander in the West Bank imposed a four-month administrative detention order on him last month.

The baker has been hospitalized since December 30 as his health deteriorated. He has not been allowed any family visits and the Israeli authorities have since moved him to various different hospitals around the country.

He was transferred to Ziv hospital in northern Israel on Sunday. His lawyers believe the move is intended to add further pressure on him since the move will make it harder for his lawyers and family to visit him.

“The Israeli authorities must release Khader Adnan and other Palestinians held in administrative detention, unless they are promptly charged with internationally recognizable criminal offences and tried in accordance with international fair trial standards,” Harrison said.

His hunger strike has prompted demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and last week other Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails announced a hunger strike in solidarity.

Administrative detention, a procedure under which detainees considered a threat to Israeli security are held without charge or trial for periods of up to six months, can be renewed indefinitely.

No criminal charges are filed against administrative detainees and there is no intention of bringing them to trial.

Detainees are held on the basis of “secret evidence,” which the Israeli military authorities claim cannot be revealed for security reasons.

The “secret evidence” is not made available to detainees or their lawyers, and detainees cannot challenge their detention.

According to Israel’s prison service some 307 Palestinians were being held in administrative detention as of last December 31 but this number may have since increased.

Twenty-one members of the Palestinian Legislative Council are currently being held in administrative detention.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.