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Khader Adnan recounts 66-day hunger strike

May 5, 2012 9:30 A.M. (Updated: May 6, 2012 8:12 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hunger strike is the last tool Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails turn to in order to secure their basic needs while in custody, according to detainees.

Khader Adhan, the ex-prisoner who held the longest known Palestinian hunger strike, says refusing to take food is a dangerous step as it eventually jeopardizes prisoners' lives.

Adnan spoke to Ma’an on Friday about his experience.

“During the first days, I lost appetite and suffered headaches for several hours, especially after the fifth day. The sense of smell became very strong and I could smell food from a long distance,” he said.

Adnan says that from day five to 38 he was stable, but from day 38 to 57 he suffered severe vomiting and yellow secretions from the stomach and liver. On day 58, says Adnan, he vomited seven times and suffered from severe pain in the lower abdomen.

However, from day 58 to the last day, 66, when he ended the strike, Adnan says that he was healthier than the days before.

“During the first seven days, I had basic checkups such as blood pressure, diabetes, temperature, and weight, but after the seventh day I refused to take any checkups until day 43 in an attempt to escalate the situation.”

On day 43, Adnan says he agreed to go to a civilian hospital outside, where doctors discovered the potassium rate in his blood was too low and that could negatively affect the electrical conduction system of the heart, which could eventually result in blood clot.

“I was taken to several hospitals, and on day 54 blood tests revealed that my sugar rates were very low, and they gave me glucose," he explained.

"They offered to give me artery feeding, but I refused despite that the Red Cross, the Palestinian minister of health and the Palestinian leadership confirmed it would not mean an end to the hunger strike.”

Adnan highlighted that he did not refuse to take water except for a few hours on one day as a sort of escalation to put more pressure on the Israelis. He said refusing water was a mistake.

Six days after he ended the hunger strike, Adnan says he began to experience troubles in the small intestine and underwent a surgical operation, but now he is healthy.

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