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Israel frees Khader Adnan

April 17, 2012 11:28 P.M. (Updated: April 19, 2012 3:32 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities released former hunger-striking administrative detainee Khader Adnan late Tuesday, a Ma'an correspondent reported.

Adnan arrived at his home in Araba in the northern West Bank to meet his family before returning to a tent reception where he spoke to well-wishers and officials in the village.

Hundreds of Palestinians chanted slogans in solidarity with prisoners as they welcomed the former detainee, whose 66-day hunger strike inspired others to protest administrative detention.

Under the provision, Israel can imprison suspects indefinitely, without ever informing them of the charges they face or presenting their lawyers with any evidence. Over 300 Palestinians are held without charge in Israel.

Inspired by Adnan's protest, a female prisoner, Hana Shalabi, refused food for 43 days before the Israelis decided to deport her to Gaza, barring her from returning to her native West Bank for at least three years.

On Tuesday, at least 1,200 prisoners in Israeli jails launched an open-ended hunger strike.

Hundreds joined the so-called "battle of empty stomachs" to coincide with Palestinian Prisoners' Day, when both the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip stage mass rallies in support of some 4,800 prisoners who are held in Israeli prisons.

The Israeli prisons' authority said 2,300 prisoners had announced they would reject their daily meal on Tuesday, while 1,200 indicated they were launching a formal hunger strike.

"The Israeli Prisons Authority has coped with hunger strikes in the past and is prepared to cope with it now," it added.

Palestinian officials said 1,600 prisoners were joining the indefinite hunger strike.

Human rights groups called on Tuesday for international accountability for the situation of Palestinian prisoners. Al-Mezan urged the international community not to work with security corporation G4S, which equips Israeli checkpoints and jails.

Meanwhile, al-Haq urged the world not to ignore four Palestinian hunger-strikers who have been hospitalized after refusing food for over a month.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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