Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Starving for freedom: The hunger strike of Khader Adnan

Khader Adnan, currently on hunger strike in an Israeli prison, runs the risk of dying without international help.

By Ali Abunimah

"Amman, Jordan - By the time you read these words, Khader Adnan could be dead. After 58 full days on hunger strike, his body is already well past the stage where his vital organs may cease to function at any moment. But Khader Adnan is dying to live.

The 33-year-old Palestinian baker, husband, father, and graduate student has refused food since December 18, a day after he was arrested in a nighttime raid on his family home by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank. He has lost over 40 kgs and his wife Randa and young daughters have described his appearance as "shocking".

Adnan, whom Israel says is a member of Islamic Jihad, was given a four month "administrative detention" order by the Israeli military - meaning that he is held without being charged for any crime or trial, a practice continued by Israel that dates back to British colonial days.

Yesterday an Israeli military court rejected Adnan's appeal against the arbitrary detention. Having vowed to maintain his hunger strike until he is released or charged, the judge - an Israeli military officer - might as well have sentenced Khader Adnan to death, unless there is urgent international intervention....

Last week Tommy McKearney, who spent 53 days on hunger strike in 1980, sent a video message of solidarity with Khader Adnan. McKearney, himself a former member of the IRA, lived to contribute to peace in his country, just as his comrades did with their deaths.

But Bobby Sands and his comrades need not have died had wiser, more humane policies prevailed at the time. And Khader Adnan need not die today or tomorrow. But it will take the world to speak out now to save him.

The determination, unflinching courage and self-sacrifice of Adnan's hunger strike has captured the imagination and support of people everywhere. He deserves our respect, but more importantly right now, he needs us to raise our voices."

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