DATE: Monday 22nd June 2015, 2pm-4pm
LOCATION: Outside Parliament, Parliament Square, London (near tube is Westminster)
FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/901861463188869/
Please join us in a vigil outside Parliament to demand freedom for Palestinian hunger striker Sheikh Khader Adnan on the 50th Day of his hunger strike; and to demand an end to Israel’s illegal practice of punitive Administrative Detention whereby Palestinian political prisoners are caged indefinitely (some for nearly 10 years) without a charge or trial. Sheikh Khader Adnan is in critical condition, experiencing intermittent coma, his weight has dropped to a dangerous level and he is unable to stand or move , and his heart rate has dropped. The Israel Prison Service has forcibly transferred him to Assaf Harofeh Hospital, where he is surronded by three prison guards while his hand and leg are shackled to the hospital bed.
SHEIKH KHADER ADNAN
A former Palestinian political prisoner, Sheikh Khader Adnan is known as the father of the hunger strikers – the symbol of Palestinian resistance and steadfastness, In 2011 he was abducted and caged indefinitely without any charged or trial under Israeli illegal system of punitive administrative detention. To protest his illegal imprisonment he went on hunger strike and won his freedom. His successful 66 day hunger strike in 2012 – the longest in Palestinian history at the time, inspired over 1600 other Palestinian prisoners to hunger strike. Since his release Sheikh Khader Adnan has been the voice of the Palestinian political prisoners, ceaselessly defending their rights at every opportunity and thus is a thorn in the side of the occupation. He has been in and out of occupation prisons since his student days from 1999 due to his political stance against the occupation. He has spent more than 6 years of his life caged in occupation dungeons, yet he has never been formally charged with anything let alone stand trial for anything.
Sheikh Khader Adnan is a father of 6 children. Youngest are triplets under 2 year old – Ali, Hamza and Mohammed; his other son is aged 3 – Abd-Al-Rahman. His two daughters are Maali – the eldest just 7 years old, and Besan 5 years old. Khader Adnan has a degree in Mathematics, and runs a bakery in the town of Arrabah near Jenin in the West Bank. His wife Randa describes their marriage as a partnership: “Khader is not just my husband.. He is a partner in struggle. I’ve been with him to protests and together we support prisoners families. I never considered this a burden or an exhaustion but rather an asset. ” She stresses how loving and gentle Adnan is: “He always helped me look after the children, changing their diapers and doing stuff that some men never consider doing. During my pregnancy with triplets, Khader was the one cleaning the house and making every effort to keep me happy and comfortable.”
On Tuesday 8th July 2014 he was returning home to share the Iftar meal with his family after the Ramadan fast when he was abducted at a temporary checkpoint the occupation had illegally set up near his home town. He was given a 6 month administrative detention order without charge or trial. When the occupation renewed the order in Jan 2015 with an additional 4 month administrative detention order Sheikh Khadar Adnan protested by going on a one week hunger strike, announcing beforehand the duration of the strike. And when that administrative detention finished and they again gave him another 6 month administrative detention order in May 2015, Sheikh Khadar Adnan started his open ended hunger strike on 6th May 2015. It must be noted that Khader Adnan’s hunger strike is complete – unlike many previous long term hunger strikers he is refusing vitamins and other nutritional supplements, so he cannot stay alive long. Reports suggest that on day 35 of his hunger strike he is already experiencing intermittent comas, a sharp decrease in weight and drop in his heart rate.
His mother says that “We discussed the issue before he was arrested again in July last year, I told him, please, if they arrest you again don’t go on hunger strike.’ He remained silent, but gave me a look that pierced my heart like a bullet — as if to ask me to respect his decision and not expect me to deprive him of the only weapon he would have.” Khader Adnan informed his wife and his father of his plan to go on hunger strike in case Israeli authorities were to renew his administrative detention. His father explains “Khader is not a nihilist.. He’s not doing this because he wants to die and because he wants to hurt himself. On the contrary, he’s going through this because he loves life and believes that this is the only way to achieve freedom.”
His wife is concerned with the lack of action on the ground “During the last time [hunger strike], serious protests on the ground began only after the 45th day of his hunger strike and after he was nearing [death]. We cannot wait so long this time,” She urges Palestinians and the wider solidarity movement to mobilise for the prisoners cause “Those who believe in this cause should face the authorities and take to the streets, even if it meant arrest. Freedom is not without a price.”
Adnan’s father believes that one of the factors contributing to the relative silence is fear. Not fear of Israel, however, but of the Palestinian Authority: “The Palestinian Authority regards my son as a threat because while Khader supports all forms of resistance, the Palestinian Authority supports all forms of normalization,” he said.
Similarly other Arab regimes have also ignored the plight of the hunger strikers as they did previously. During Khader Adnan’s last hunger strike Syed Hassan Nasrallah remarked on the silence of Arab regimes “If Khader Adnan was an Israeli citizen, the Arab governments would intervene at the highest level.”*
Such collaborationist stances by governments makes it all the more imperative for ordinary people to ‘take to the streets’ and demand freedom for Khader Adnan.
MESSAGE FROM SHEIKH KHADER ADNAN ON DAY 30 OF HUNGER STRIKE
This is the english translation of the message from Sheikh Khader Adnan on day 30 of his hunger strike:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
All praises be to Allah in trials and tribulations, and All praises be to Allah in times of grief and happiness,
Peace and mercy upon his messenger Muhammed who was patient and all his family and companions who struggled in the valley of Abu Taleb through hunger, under a tight siege until Allah relieved their trial.
[This is a reference to early history of Islam when the first Muslims who accepted prophet Muhammed’s message of the oneness of God were persecuted and some tortured to death by the polytheists that Abu Taleb, the Prophets uncle, took them to safety in his valley under his tribes protection. The polytheists laid siege to the valley starving the Muslims inside – some days the Muslims had so little food that they had to share one date to feed two people. After 3 hard years of patience and struggle the siege collapsed and the Muslims could return home.]
To my people, my family, and to the world’s free souls I send you my greetings, love, and gratitude. It is the strength that I drawn from Allah, and from your support and prayers that gives me the power to continue.
From by beloved al-Ramla city with its majestic minarets.. its land and al-Lod which witnessed the massacre of 1948, I send you greeting a second time,
[Khader Adnan is currently in Ramla prison hospital, described by patients as a ‘slaughter house’ due to the conditions the patients are subjected to. The prison hospital is located in the ethnically cleansed Palestinian city of al-Ramla and its nearby city of Lydda (Lod) infamous of the massacre by Zionists in 1948 which left around 450 Palestinian men, women and children dead with 70,000 forcefully expelled from their homes.]
I would like you to know that I am not engaged in a personal fight for freedom. My battle is that of all Palestinian detainees who are yearning for freedom and dignity. They are the symbols of pride, freedom and dignity in this universe.. fighting for the noblest cause the world has known for decades.. when our land and our holy places were stolen.
Administrative detention is just one of the most despicable policies our people have ever witnessed. Britain bears responsibility for initiating this criminal policy, but that does not justify the occupations use of this detention against our people whose place is not to be detained inside these jails but to be home in our homeland with our families.
From the bottom of my heart, I express my gratitude for your support and solidarity. May Allah restore our freedom so that we can rejoin our families soon. The Israeli jailers try to break us down, but we promise them with Allah’s help and support and your solidarity that we will inshAllah win. This hunger strike continues until we win our freedom, inshAllah.
Khader Adnan, 4th June 2015 – day 30 of hunger strike
On day 42 of his hunger strike (14th June 2015) the Israeli cabinet approved a bill permitting the force-feeding of hunger strikers in Israeli prisons. Israel’s Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan who led the bill, justified it by writing “Alongside attempts to boycott and delegitimize Israel, hunger strikes of terrorists in prisons have become a means to threaten Israel”. The bill now just needs approval from the Knesset before it becomes law. The World Medical Association has described force-feeding of hunger-strikers as ‘tantamount to torture’. Physicians for Human Rights says the bill will ‘legalise torture and gross violations of medical ethics and international conventions’, noting that between 1970 and 1992 (when Israel permitted such force-feeding) five Palestinian prisoners died while being force-fed.
Administrative detention is a practice used by Israel to imprison Palestinians indefinitely without charge or trial.
Prisoners are given rolling detention orders which can be anything from 1-6 months, renewable indefinitely. This is against international law. For example administrative detainee Mazen Natsheh has been locked up cumulatively for nearly 10 years without charge or trial.
Detention orders are based on so called “secret information” which never needs to be produced, either to the detainee nor their lawyer.
Administrative detention is often used to arbitrarily jail Palestinians where there is no evidence for a trial, or for punishment as in the case of 8 Palestinian MPs.
Israel has on average issued over 2000 detention orders every year (2007-2011). Today there are 450 administrative detainees. Most of them. like Khader Adnan, having been transferred from the West Bank into Israel in contravention of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.