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Israeli forces free Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan

July 12, 2015 11:51 A.M. (Updated: July 13, 2015 6:58 P.M.)
Khader Adnan kisses his mother as he arrives in the West Bank village of Arraba after his release on July 12, 2015. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- The Israeli authorities released Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan on Sunday, two weeks after a deal was reached to end a 55-day long hunger strike that brought him close to death.

Adnan, 37, went on hunger strike in June to protest the Israeli practice of administrative detention, under which Palestinians can be held without trial or charge indefinitely. His release Sunday came after 11 months in Israeli custody.

He was greeted to a hero's welcome in his village of Arraba near Jenin that included fireworks, songs and flags for Islamic Jihad, the movement to which Israel says he belongs.

Residents wore shirts donning Adnan's picture.

The bespectacled 37-year-old, thin and with a long beard, was taken in the early hours of Sunday by an Israeli military vehicle to a crossroads near Arraba, where he was received by the director of the local Palestinian military liaison office, Mujahid Abu Dayya.

Palestinian security sources told Ma'an that the Israeli authorities released Adnan "secretly" and even his family was not aware of the time he would be released.

"The Israelis wanted to prevent celebrations," they said.

Adnan was released "secretly" in the early hours of Sunday. (MaanImages)

Adnan refused to talk to journalists upon his release. Locals said that Adnan’s refusal to give comment was stipulated by the Israeli authorities as part of their agreement to release him.

He was detained in July last year and sentenced to administrative detention for the 10th time in his life.

Of the 5,686 Palestinian prisoners currently held by Israel, 379 are detained under the practice.

His hunger strike, which brought him near death by the time it concluded last month, had sparked warnings from the Palestinian government that it held Israel responsible for his fate.

Regular protests were organised in support of him.

He had previously gone on hunger strike for 66 days in 2012 to protest the practice. He was released at the end of the strike, during which he had ingested vitamins and salt.

This time, he refused to swallow anything except water.

(MaanImages)

Despite sharply deteriorating health, he said he would continue the hunger strike until the Israeli authorities agreed either to release him or bring charges against him.

A deal was finally struck on June 29 after Adnan withdrew his demand that Israel agree to never place him under administrative detention again.

An Israeli official said Adnan's deteriorating health and appeals from the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Palestinian Authority had also contributed to the decision to release him.

After the deal was reached, Adnan's wife told Ma'an: "All the guarantees which Sheikh Khader asked for have been obtained, and so he triumphed over the occupation state after 55 days of hunger strike."

A long list of Palestinian prisoners have gone on hunger strike, including nearly 2,000 in 2012 to protest against the administrative detention policy.

The Israeli government in mid-June renewed efforts for legislation that would allow prisoners to be force-fed when their lives are in danger, sparking criticism from health experts and rights groups.

The bill was initially approved by the government in June 2014 at the height of another mass hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners during which 80 were hospitalized.

The Palestinian leadership submitted a report to the International Criminal Court last week that included the treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

(MaanImages)

AFP contributed to this report.
Comments
John / Ireland
Best possibly news on this fine Sunday
12/07/2015 12:42
JoeUSA / USA
Administrative detention is a cruel and an unusual punishment for doing nothing. If this man broke the law , charge him and find him guilty and jail him. Other than that , set him free.
12/07/2015 15:10
Outlier / USA
Now let us see what he learned from the experience.
13/07/2015 06:40
Carlos / usa
Sleazier country than israel does not exist.
13/07/2015 19:28
spb / usa
it seems he had a change of heart and decided to avoid headaches and go back to his suite in jail
14/07/2015 11:25
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