Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Khader Adnan Is Being Released!

This is fantastic news! Khader Adnan is a Palestinian who was arrested nine weeks ago, and has been on a hunger strike ever since. He has been without food for 66 days, and is in critical condition. Israel calls him "a dangerous terrorist," however after two and a half months in prison, they still have not filed any charges against him. Unfortunately, this is all too common. Israeli authorities can arrest a Palestinian, and keep him or her (although it's almost always men) in "administrative detention" for up to six months (and can renew this six month period as many times as they want) without filing any charges or allowing any trial.

The first time I came to Palestine, I stayed with a host family. My host mother's brother had just been released from this administrative detention. He was arrested for being present at a non-violent protest in the West Bank, and had been in prison for the last TWO YEARS! Even though the detention only lasts six months, it is renewable basically indefinitely. After his first six month term was up, they renewed it, and renewed it, and renewed it. He ended up spending the entire two years in prison without any charges or trial, and when he was finally released, came home to meet his 18 month old daughter for the first time. Essentially, people are being held in prison for no reason, for as long as the authorities deem necessary. It is a tragedy that ruins lives, families, entire communities.

"Why are Palestinians so angry?" I'm always asked. I would contend that they are not in fact angry, but that their culture is very different, and if you're ignorant of these differences and only view Palestinians through your own cultural lens, then you may incorrectly perceive them to be angry. But if they ARE angry, probably it's because they're having to deal with garbage like this!

Imagine coming home to find out that your husband or father was just gone. He had been arrested, even though he had done nothing wrong, and you had no idea how many months, or even years, it would be until you saw him again. He was the only breadwinner for your family, so now you have no idea how you're going to eat or pay the bills. Would you be angry? Yeah, me too.

Luckily, there are people like Khader Adnan who are willing to stand up and say "This isn't right! I'm a human being, and you cannot treat me this way." He has brought light to an issue that very few knew about before. There was a demonstration outside my office today. Hundreds of Palestinian university students held signs and chanted in protest of an innocent man being held in prison.

Now, if the Israeli authorities had some sort of evidence saying that he was actually a terrorist, I would be absolutely fine with him being imprisoned and charged with his crimes. But they don't. It was, in all likelihood, a smoke screen, a way to keep Palestinians from speaking openly or actively working toward a just peace, a lame excuse used to rationalize the terrorizing of an entire people... just like so many other things here.

Israel to 'free' Palestinian hunger striker
Lawyer for Khader Adnan says Israel has agreed to free West Bank baker refusing food for 66 days over his detention.
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2012 12:30
Adnan said that his hands were shackled behind him and that he was thrown on the floor of a military jeep [REUTERS]

Israel has agreed to free Khader Adnan, a Palestinian detained without charge, who has been on hunger strike for more than nine weeks, one of his lawyers has said.

The revelation came hours before the supreme court was to hear an urgent appeal on Tuesday for Adnan's release.
The lawyer said that a settlement had been reached for ending his detention.

The continued 'administrative detention' of the Palestinian from the West Bank had stroked global anger with protesters clashing again with police in the West Bank on Tuesday.
In Depth: No food without freedom
Feature: Randa Adnan: 'I still have hope'
Op-ed: Saving his life is saving our own soul
Op-ed: Starving for freedom
Support grows for Palestinian hunger striker
Israel arrested Adnan, a 33-year-old baker, on December 17 near the northern West Bank town of Jenin. Israel accuses him of being a spokesman for the Palestinian group, Islamic Jihad.

He told lawyers and human rights organisations that masked soldiers violently broke into his house, where his mother and children were present.
Adnan said that his hands were shackled behind him and that he was thrown onto the floor of the military jeep and kicked and slapped by soldiers while they took him to the settlement of Mevo Dotan.

He began refusing food a day after his arrest and is now said to be in critical condition.

Earlier, Saeb Erakat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, urged world leaders to pressure Israel to free Adnan.

"I sent messages to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton today, and spoke with the EU and Chinese envoys," Erakat told AFP news agency.

"I asked them all to intervene in Adnan's case. They must apply pressure on Israel to release him," he said.

Widespread condemnation
World leaders had expressed growing concern over the fate of the prisoner, who was held without charge under a procedure known as "administrative detention".

There are currently more than 300 Palestinians being held in administrative detention by Israel, without charge or trial, for renewable periods of six months, without any way of defending themselves.

Palestinian officials warned that his death in custody could start a violent backlash, while a spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service said on Sunday that they were "constantly monitoring" the situation.

"We understand the implications of this case," Sivan Weizman said.

But on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office went on the offensive, with a spokesman describing Adnan as "a dangerous terrorist" despite the fact he has yet to be charged with any security offences.

Until now, Adnan has not been charged and the military court that approved Adnan's detention has refused to release any details on the reason for his arrest or ongoing imprisonment.

1 comment:

  1. You know if they turned this into a show, people would watch it--Sadly our society is to lazy to read anymore...

    What is wrong with the world...

    People, all over, should be rushing to help. Our priorities are so wrong.