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Wife: Khader Adnan sticking to hunger strike

Feb. 18, 2012 6:27 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 20, 2012 7:03 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Detained hunger-striker Khader Adnan is going forward with his hunger strike against unjust practices in Israeli jails, his wife said Saturday, dismissing reports to the contrary.

Randa Adnan denied a report in a Gaza-based newspaper quoting her as saying Khader would stop his strike in the event that religious authorities found it to be in conflict with Islamic regulations.

"What media outlets in Gaza claimed I said is false," she told Ma'an.

"I call on the media to be careful when they report any news about the case of Sheikh Khader Adnan. It is very sensitive, and any misinterpretation will be harmful rather than beneficial," she added.

The Gaza-based daily Falastin reported Saturday that the Palestinian embassy in Cairo sent a request to the sheikh of Al-Azhar in Egypt asking for a fatwa to determine if the strike was acceptable.

The head of the Palestinian prisoners society, Qadura Fares, similarly denied the report. "This is a very sensitive topic, and journalists should be careful and publish credible reports," he said.

Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti, meanwhile, called for said a global campaign is working to recruit support for the hunger striker and "demand that the Israeli government immediately release Khader Adnan."

"We are embarking on an international campaign to recruit solidarity with Khader Adnan, and seeking to exert pressure on Israel to release him," Barghouti said Saturday.

"The international community," he added, has "repeatedly affirmed that both Israel’s occupation and use of administrative detention is illegal and should end. Now, you must act."

Ashton expressing 'deep worries'

The European Union foreign policy chief has also expressed concern.

In a statement delivered by her spokesperson, Catherine Ashton was said to have expressed "deep worries over the situation," and requested that Israel "do all it can to preserve the health of Mr. Adnan".

She added that the EU remains concerned about the use of administrative detention: "Detainees have the right to be informed about the charges underlying any detention and be subject to a fair trial."

Ali Abunimah, a US-based Palestinian writer, criticized the statement as insufficient.

"You have frequently asserted that 'human rights' are at the center of your policy. But we know that any such statements come with an asterisk. Palestinians are exempt from such rights," Abunimah wrote in a letter to Ashton.

"What makes this all the more revolting is that you spared no opportunity to call for the release of an Israeli occupation soldier who was held in Gaza, a soldier taken prisoner while bearing arms to enforce the deadly siege and occupation of Gaza.

"Perhaps if Khader Adnan had been an armed Israeli occupation soldier, instead of a father who was at home with his family, you would have had more sympathy."
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