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Khader Adnan: Palestinian Prisoner Dies After Lengthy Hunger Strike in Israeli Jail

On May 2nd, the Palestinian news agency 'Wafa' reported the death of Palestinian detainee Khader Adnan after nearly three months of hunger strike "in protest of his administrative detention."

The Palestinian Prisoners Society indicated that Adnan, forty-four, was subjected to "premeditated assassination by the Israeli occupation."

"Today, we have lost a true leader who went on six hunger strikes over the past years, during which he brought the prisoners' voice to all parts of the world and was able to secure his release every time. This time, however, the occupation decided to assassinate him using systematic tools and premeditated actions," the Prisoners' Society mourned Adnan.

On the dawn of February 5th, the Israeli forces raided Adnan's house in the town of Arraba, south of Jenin in the West Bank, and arrested him. Since then, Adnan started the "empty stomachs" battle, as the Palestinians call it, where his wife Randa Musa confirmed that her husband had informed an officer that he was "on a hunger strike and not drinking or talking" from the first moment of his arrest.

As for the delivery of Adnan's body to his family, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners' Society, Qadura Fares, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the matter is still "unclear at the moment," as there is no decision yet on whether or not to deliver his body. However, there has also been no decision made to withhold it.

In the same context, Al Jazeera reported that Adnan's lawyer, Jameel Al-Khatib, has demanded the body's release and received an initial response that the Israeli Defense Minister is responsible for this issue, indicating that "the occupation will negotiate with the resistance over the body.”

Furthermore, The International Committee of the Red Cross has called on Israeli authorities to "return the body of Mr. Adnan so that his family can mourn and arrange for a burial according to their customs and beliefs."

As for the details of his death, Al-Khatib stated that there is no confirmed information regarding Adnan's death, as the Israeli Prison Service announced his death without providing any details. He said, "According to the Israeli version, one of the guards found Sheikh Khader unconscious, and he was transferred to the hospital at that time," noting that they do not confirm this version and that "there may be forced feeding or other issues related to the matter."

In this regard, Randa Musa, the wife of Khader Adnan, said she felt he would be martyred within the following days after she last met him during his trial session last Sunday, April 30th.

That day, the Israeli military court in Ofer prison refused to release Adnan. A new session was scheduled for the tenth of May to consider the appeal submitted by the prisoner's lawyer for his release on bail. Adnan had been on a hunger strike for 85 days at the time.

A few days before the final court session, Dr. Lina Qassem, the Physicians for Human Rights Association president, visited the prisoner Khader Adnan in his cell. He confirmed to her his insistence on his right to life and his right to be transferred to a civilian hospital for necessary medical care when needed, without breaking his open hunger strike in his quest for freedom.

“I visited him on the 80th day of his hunger strike after submitting a request to the prison administration for a visit a month earlier. He could not stand and was in very frail condition and feeble health. He had passed out during a Zoom court session before my visit, but he was determined to continue his hunger strike and refused any supplements to his body as well as refused to force-feed. His body was extremely thin with a weight loss of around 40 kg, and he was experiencing constant dizziness and fainting.”

Dr. Qasim blamed the Israeli Prison Service and all the doctors in the civilian hospitals that Khader Adnan was taken to and then returned to the prison clinic because they knew very well that the prison clinic did not provide adequate healthcare. "Even the prison clinic director, Dr. Slutzki, admitted that the clinic is not equipped to handle someone who has been on a hunger strike for 80 days," she said.

From her perspective, Adnan's wife Randa confirmed in an interview on Al Jazeera that her husband told her he would be a martyr before the next court session on May 10, during a conversation between them in his trial session last Sunday.

She also pointed out that she and her children were prepared to receive news of Adnan's death because what she saw in court during her last visit made it clear that "the time of martyrdom was approaching."

On the other hand, the Israeli side claimed that Adnan had refused medical examinations. He was found unconscious in his cell, and he was given first aid and transferred to a hospital, where he was declared dead, as stated by prison authorities.

In this regard, The Times of Israel reported that Adnan “was brought to the Shamir Medical Center outside Tel Aviv and underwent resuscitation efforts, but was declared dead at the hospital, the Prisons Service said.”

Hana Herbst, a spokeswoman for the Israel Prison Service, also stated that Adnan decided to go on a hunger strike and refused any medical examination and treatment.

“We couldn’t have done anything different other than forcing him to take medical treatment, which we can’t do.”

A senior Israeli official informed AFP news agency that, in recent days, "the military appeal court decided against releasing him from detention based solely on the merit of his medical condition." The official also emphasized that Adnan had put his life at risk by refusing medical attention.

According to CNN's report, the Israeli authorities had charged Adnan with belonging to a terrorist organization, supporting terrorism, and incitement. The Times of Israel further explained that Adnan had long been accused of being a spokesperson for the terror group and had been arrested several times in recent years, serving several prison sentences in connection with his work for Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Therefore, Israel argues that these detentions are necessary in cases where evidence cannot be disclosed in court due to the imperative of protecting intelligence sources.


As per Amnesty International, “Israeli authorities’ systematic arbitrary detention of Palestinians and cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners” have led to Palestinian detainees resorting to hunger strikes as a means to demand the rights they believe are denied to them.

In a statement on his death, the non-governmental human rights organization highlighted that Adnan, despite his affiliation with the Islamic Jihad Movement that carried out attacks against civilians, did not participate in any violent acts himself.

It also pointed out that Adnan “spent eight years in detention, including nearly six years in administrative detention without charge or trial.”

Moreover, Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, explained, "Khader Adnan is the first Palestinian detainee to die due to a hunger strike since 1992. When his life was at risk, Israeli authorities refused Khader Adnan access to the specialized care he needed in a civilian hospital and instead left him to die alone in his cell.”

She added that Adnan “had gone on five hunger strikes before – four times in protest at Israel’s systematic and discriminatory use of administrative detention to imprison Palestinians without charge or trial, and once to protest his solitary confinement. Like so many Palestinians in Israeli prisons, Khader Adnan had no other means of challenging the injustices he and thousands of others are subjected to under Israel’s apartheid.”

Adnan was born in the town of Arrabeh near the city of Jenin in the West Bank on March 24th, 1978; his full name is Khader Adnan Musa. He works as a baker and is the father of nine children (five boys and four girls), the eldest of whom is fourteen years old while the youngest is less than two years old.

He obtained a bachelor's degree in mathematical economics and a master's degree in economics from Birzeit University in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

As for his political life, Adnan joined the Islamic Jihad movement early on. His first arrest was by the Palestinian Authority on charges of inciting to stone French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin during his visit to Birzeit University in 1998. He spent ten days on a hunger strike while in detention, according to the Al Mayadeen channel.

Edited By: Ashelyn Wagner

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Tags: #HumanRights #KhaderAdnan #PalestinianPrisoner #IsraeliDetention #HungerStrike


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