Israel to Free Islamic Jihad Boss From 'Administrative Detention' After 66-Day Hunger Strike

Sixty-six days after Khader Adnan began his hunger strike in protest over his arrest, Israel has agreed that if "no new additional substantial evidence" emerges, he will be released in April, and he will not be indicted.

al-monitor Adnan Mussa, the father of Islamic Jihad member Khader Adnan, gestures during news conference in Arabeh 21/02/2012. Photo by REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini.

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Feb 24, 2012

Khader Adnan, Islamic Jihadist, did not eat or drink for more than two months in protest against the decision to keep him in administrative detention, On Wednesday [February 22], the state decided to release him.

 Less than an hour before deliberations were to begin in the High Court of Justice on Wednesday, the State Attorney announced that Adnan, who has been held in administrative detention since December under suspicion of terrorist activity, will be released on April 17 and will not be indicted, contingent upon "no new additional substantial evidence" emerging. The arrangement was also presented to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein; other officials involved in the case have said that Weinstein feels that the arrangement was the right thing to do, and that it is  "balanced and proportionate," and thus lawful.

In response to the decision, Adnan (who is hospitalized in Safed’s Ziv Hospital) said that he will end his hunger strike. At the same time, the High Court announced that they have decided to erase the petition submitted by Adnan, in the wake of the deal between the sides.

Adnan, 35, a resident of the Arabeh village in the West Bank, is the spokesman of the Islamic Jihad movement. Adnan was arrested on suspicion of involvement in activities threatening the security of Israel. During the Second Intifada, Adnan was a public-relations spokesman for this group in the West Bank and even edited the Islamic Jihad website. He was arrested several times and served time in Israeli jails for a total of more than six years.

Adnan had been detained earlier by the Palestinian Authority; then, too, he conducted a hunger strike in protest. The Palestinian Authority was alarmed and released him within a short time. Several days later he was arrested by the Israeli Security Agency, also known as Shin Bet, and the state issued a warrant for a four-month administrative detention. Adnan appealed to the High Court through his attorney Jawad Boulos, demanding to be either released immediately or officially charged. At the same time, he began the hunger strike that was followed by waves of demonstrations on his behalf in the West Bank, Gaza strip and elsewhere.

After losing 29 kilos, Adnan’s health deteriorated and he was hospitalized in the Ziv Hospital in Safed. A high-placed physician member of the Physicians for Human Rights organization warned that Adnan’s life was in danger.

The Israel Prison Service and the defense establishment have been closely monitoring Adnan’s condition out of concern that his death could lead to disturbances by security prisoners and even riots in the West Bank. The statement of his upcoming release was greeted by spontaneous celebrations throughout the West Bank.

“Khader Adnan is an administrative detainee, one of 309 Palestinian detainees held in Israeli prisons without being indicted, without being able to defend themselves and without knowing what they are accused of ,” said the Physicians for Human Rights organization. “Adnan’s brave hunger strike has brought the entire issue to the public agenda, a commendable step.”

On the other hand, far-right MK Michael Ben-Ari said, “Capitulation to the pressure of a Jihad activist is a mark of disgrace and sends the clear message that Israel can be subdued by pressure and threats. As we know, one who has mercy on the cruel, will end up being cruel to the merciful (settlers).”

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