(Photo: Sharif Solaiman/Addameer)
Khader Adnan is on the 53rd day of hunger strike. Passing his 42nd day, the Palestinian political prisoner entered the fatal high-risk stage of starvation, where he is risking cardiac arrest and the inevitable shutting-down of major organs. The Palestine News Network reports what awaits Adnan:
[A]fter the 42nd day of a hunger strike, it is expected that individuals will begin to lose their hearing and vision, and suffer bleeding in the gums, intestines, and esophagus. The body will gradually stop functioning. After the 45th day, there is a high risk of death due to vascular system collapse and/or cardiac arrest.
Responding to the political prisoner’s dire health condition, advocates are desperately calling for the termination of the graduate student’s detention. In the past 48 hours Samidoun, the Palestinian political prisoners solidarity network petitioned, pressured, and demanded support for Adnan from Israeli embassies and U.S. officials. And though the pressure has not yielded life-saving intervention–life-saving–the narrative of Adnan’s imprisonment without charge or trial is circulating. Prisoner advocacy organization Addameer chronicled the detention:
Each day, Khader was subjected to two three-hour interrogation sessions. Throughout the interrogation sessions, his hands were tied behind his back on a chair with a crooked back, causing extreme pain to his back. Khader notes that the interrogators would leave him sitting alone in the room for half an hour or more. Khader also suffered from additional ill-treatment. During the second week of interrogation, one interrogator pulled his beard so hard that it caused his hair to rip off. The same interrogator also took dirt from the bottom of his shoe and rubbed it on Khader’s mustache as a means of humiliation.
On Friday evening 30 December 2011, Khader was transferred to Ramleh prison hospital because of his deteriorating health from his hunger strike. He was placed in isolation in the hospital, where he was subject to cold conditions and cockroaches throughout his cell. He has refused any medical examinations since 25 December, which was one week after he stopped eating and speaking. The prison director came to speak to Khader in order to intimidate him further and soldiers closed the upper part of his cell’s door to block any air circulation, commenting that they would “break him” eventually.
To date, no one in a position of agency to release Adnan has made a public statement, other than confirming his internment. On January 8, a judge issued a fourth-month extension of administration detention. Like others held in this legal limbo, Adnan’s incarceration is predicated upon secret evidence that the prison advocacy Adameer explains, is “collected by Israeli authorities and available to the military judge but not to the detainee or his lawyer.”
Bobby Sands. (Photo: PA/PA Wire)
A fate like Bobby Sands?
It appears that there is now no way out for Adnan. His hunger strike now is just 13 days short of the duration of Irish republican Bobby Sands’s strike. Protesting inhumane treatment and the de-politicizing of his prisoner designation, Sands along with a hundred others engaged in a hunger strike for 66 days. The strike was called off after 10 died, and support never arrived from the imprisoning politicians. Even at the end of the Irish political prisoners’ lives, Margaret Thatcher, who held the key to the republicans’ cell, was cold. A day after Sands’ death the then British prime minister announced, “terrorism is a crime and always will be a crime.”
Conversely, Israeli politicians remain silent on Adnan’s case, the longest running one-man hunger strike. Aside from remarks by the prison service on a possible force-feeding, it is as if Adnan does not exist. But, he does exist.
British officials did not intervene to save Sands, a likely path for the quiet Israelis. But, in 1981 civil society’s screams for the Irish national hero broke glass. Following Sands’ death, direct actions took place across the world, including U.S. port workers refusing to unload British good in a 24-hour boycott.
If Adnan is let to perish, may his passing also break the glass.
Samidoun: TAKE ACTION NOW!
1. Call and demand the release of Khader Adnan, who has not been charged with any crime but instead is being held under Administrative Detention. Call the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC (1.202.364.5500) OR your local Embassy (for a list, click here).
Call the office of Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs (1.202.647.7209)
Demand that Jeffrey Feltman bring this issue urgently to his counterparts in Israel and raise the question of Khader Adnan’s administrative detention.
2. Organize a protest outside your local Israeli Embassy (for a list, click here).
Post your local actions to the Khader Adnan facebook page
3. Other Actions
* To contact the authorities within Israel, see Addameer’s appeal.
* Other ideas for actions and a letter-writing template can be found on this action alert from Samidoun (The Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network).
* See Amnesty International’s report and appeal to action.