Trending Topics:

Khader Adnan, political prisoner held without charges, is near death after 53 days of hunger strike

on 9 Comments
Khader Adnan
(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
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.


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

Tweet Now: Take Action Now for #KhaderAdnan #Palestine #Israel

Tweet Now: I just called my local #Israel Embassy to demand #KhaderAdnan’s release. Join me now! ListofEmbassies:

Tweet Now: Sign Petition to #FreeKhader hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner #palestine #KhaderAdnan

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.

Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

Other posts by .

Posted In:

9 Responses

  1. Chaos4700
    February 7, 2012, 9:35 pm

    You know what’s the sad thing? The Israelis who are responsible for holding him in prison camp conditions are probably celebrating his impending death. I appreciate that he’s taking a stand against the injustice at the hands of a cruel society that will never treat him as a human being with human rights, but in eliciting sympathy for a non-Jew from the greater Israeli society, you might as well be trying to squeeze blood from a heart made of stone.

  2. DICKERSON3870
    February 7, 2012, 10:15 pm

    RE: “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.” ~ Deger

    “Hunger”, 2008, NR, 96 minutes
    Acclaimed visual artist Steve McQueen makes his feature film debut with this gripping drama (and Independent Spirit Award Best Foreign Film contender) that depicts the events surrounding a hunger strike staged by a group of IRA prisoners during their 1981 incarceration in Britain’s Prison Maze. Led by IRA volunteer-poet Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender), the strikers waged their six-week-long protest in an attempt to be acknowledged as political prisoners and to improve the prison’s conditions.
    Netflix Availability: Streaming, DVD and Blu-ray
    HUNGER Trailer (2008) – The Criterion Collection (VIDEO, 01:53) –
    P.S. IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not watch this film anywhere near mealtime. To say the least, it does not “whet the appetite”. At least, not for food! Also, a ‘barf bag’ might be advisable when viewing this film.

    Name – Hannah Arendt: Integrity Personified
    Category – Common Interest, Beliefs & Causes
    Description – A group for individuals who greatly respect the legendary Hannah Arendt, and who admire the immense integrity her life epitomized. Oh, come, all ye “conscious pariahs”, Joyful and triumphant! Oh, come ye, oh, come ye…
    LINK –

  3. DICKERSON3870
    February 7, 2012, 11:44 pm


    RE: Palestinian political prisoner Khader Adnan

    Dear (salutation)

    I am writing to urge that Palestinian political prisoner Khader Adnan, currently on a hunger strike exceeding fifty days, be immediately and unconditionally released.

    Khader Adnan is a victim of torture and abuse. He is being held without charge or trial and under secret evidence. It is the eighth time that Israel has imprisoned Mr. Adnan without charge or trial, where he joins over 280 fellow Palestinian prisoners in administrative detention.

    Khader Adnan’s life – and the lives of thousands of Palestinian prisoners- are precious to me and to people around the world. The eyes of the world are on the case of Khader Adnan, and the government of Israel is fully responsible for his health and his life.

    Administrative detention violates the right to a fair trial as recognized in the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. It is a practice that is used to silence Palestinians without ever exposing the reality of such actions to the light of day – even in the rigged military court systems.

    Furthermore, I join with Palestinian prisoners to demand an end to the use not only of administrative detention, but also the use of isolation and solitary confinement and torture, both of which have been used against Khader Adnan and numerous other Palestinian prisoners.

    Khader Adnan’s valiant hunger strike is a cry for freedom that has been heard around the world. He must be released immediately and without condition.


    Military Judge Advocate General
    Brigadier General Danny Efroni
    6 David Elazar Street
    Hakirya, Tel Aviv,
    Fax: +972 3 569 4526
    Email: [email protected]

    Salutation: Dear Judge Advocate
    Commander of the IDF – West Bank
    Major-General Avi Mizrahi
    GOC Central Command
    Military Post 01149
    Battalion 877
    Israel Defense Forces,
    Fax: +972 2 530 5724
    Email: [email protected]
    Salutation: Dear Major-General AviMizrahi

    And copies to:
    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence
    Ehud Barak
    Ministry of Defence
    37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
    Tel Aviv 61909,
    Fax: +972 3 69 16940 / 62757
    Email: [email protected]
    Salutation: Dear Minister

    Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

    WASHINGTON (Embassy)
    WASHINGTON D.C. 20008
    Email: [email protected]

    Israeli Mission to the United Nations – New York
    NEW YORK/U.N (Delegation)
    NEW YORK U.N 10017
    Email: [email protected]

  4. kalithea
    February 8, 2012, 1:03 am

    I was wondering when someone would cover this story. I don’t care if his death breaks glass…I JUST WANT HIM TO LIVE TO SEE A FREE PALESTINE!!!!!!!!!

    I hope hell holds a place for those allowing this to happen!

    Feltman help this man? I won’t hold my breath. Obama watched the slaughter of children in Gaza as President-elect and deferred to Bush for comment!

  5. ToivoS
    February 8, 2012, 1:05 am

    This is a man who is willing to die for his beliefs. I must say that they are not beliefs that I would die for. But without doubt, the Zionist are quite happy to kill him for this. It is an amazing development. All of America, it is now our destiny to kill Palestinians that resist Israeli oppression. Really??

  6. Shmuel
    February 8, 2012, 2:38 am

    Paul Auster:

    Whatever the [Turkish] Prime Minister might think about the state of Israel, the fact is that free speech exists there and no writers or journalists are in jail.


    Administrative detention is detention without trial, intended to prevent a person from committing an act that is liable to endanger public safety. Such a detention is inherently problematic since, unlike a criminal proceeding, administrative detention is not intended to punish a person for an offense already committed, but to prevent a future danger. The manner in which Israel uses administrative detention is patently illegal. Administrative detainees are not told the reason for their detention or the specific allegations against them. Although detainees are brought before a judge to approve the detention order, most of the material submitted by the prosecution is classified and not shown to the detainee or his attorney. Since the detainees do not know the evidence against them, they are unable to refute it. The detainees also do not know when they will be released: although the maximum period of administrative detention is six months, it can be renewed indefinitely. In fact, of the administrative detainees held in December, over 60% had their detention extended at least once beyond the first detention order.

    Administrative detention violates the right to liberty and the right to due process, since the detainee is incarcerated for a prolonged period on the basis of secret evidence, without charge or trial.

    Over the years, Israel has held thousands of Palestinians in administrative detention for periods ranging from a few months to several years. The state has also administratively detained a number of Israelis, including settlers, for periods of a few months. There were times during the second intifada that Israel held over a thousand Palestinians held in administrative detention.

    Under international law, it is permissible to administratively detain a person only in exceptional cases, to prevent a grave danger that cannot be prevented through less harmful means. Israel’s use of administrative detention blatantly breaches these rules. The army must release all the administrative detainees or prosecute them, in accordance with due process.

    • seafoid
      February 8, 2012, 4:26 am

      Paul Auster reminds me of David Mamet . Tribal hysteric . All respect lost for them

      Obama of the parish of hope and change signed some law that allows the US to detain citizens indefinitely without charge along the lines of the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians . It is the end of 900 years of Magna Carta .

      “The army must release all the administrative detainees or prosecute them, in accordance with due process. ”

      Due process doesn’t exist any longer in Israel for non Jews. It’s pre medieval.

  7. Kathleen
    February 8, 2012, 10:41 am

    Thank you for this alert

  8. tellmeall
    February 8, 2012, 10:21 pm

    @Seafoid: it was actually George W. Bush that ended habeus corpus, though I believe you”re correct that Obama signed it into permanent law.
    The whole world is trembling at plucky little Israel holds the nuclear sword of Damocles (sic) above our heads.

Leave a Reply