Khader Adnan death 'a reminder of deadly cost of challenging apartheid', says Amnesty

Khader Adnan death 'a reminder of deadly cost of challenging apartheid', says Amnesty
Hunger-striking prisoner Khader Adnan's passing is a 'reminder of the deadly cost' for Palestinians who 'challenge Israel's apartheid', Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
3 min read
04 May, 2023
Khader Adnan was the 237th Palestinian prisoner to die in Israeli detention since 1967 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty]

The death in Israeli custody of hunger-striking Palestinian detainee Khader Adnan is a "reminder of the deadly cost" for Palestinians who "challenge Israeli apartheid", Amnesty International said Wednesday.

Adnan, a father of nine, died on Tuesday, after launching a hunger strike on 5 February. The 45-year-old was the first Palestinian detainee to die on hunger strike since 1992, said Amnesty's Middle East regional director Heba Morayef.

"When his life was at risk, Israeli authorities refused Khader Adnan access to the specialised care he needed in a civilian hospital and instead left him to die alone in his cell," Morayef said.

"The appalling treatment of such a high-profile detainee is the latest alarming sign that Israeli authorities are growing increasingly brazen in their contempt for Palestinians' rights and lives, and increasingly reckless in their cruelty towards Palestinians."

Israeli authorities held Adnan in administrative detention, a controversial measure under which Palestinians and occasionally others are held without charge for renewable periods of up to six months.

Adnan had gone on hunger strike on five previous occasions, four of which were "in protest at Israel's systematic and discriminatory use of administrative detention" on Palestinians and once against his own solitary confinement, said Morayef.

"Like so many Palestinians in Israeli prisons, Khader Adnan had no other means of challenging the injustices to which he and thousands of others are subjected under Israel’s apartheid," she said.

While Israeli authorities have alleged Adnan declined medical treatment, a doctor who visited him told Amnesty authorities refused him the independent specialised care he required.

The doctor said the detainee had asked to be put under medical supervision at a civilian hospital but prison authorities returned him to his cell, with guards checking he was still alive every half an hour.

"The denial of proper medical treatment to Khader Adnan was a violation of his right to health and constitutes inhuman and degrading treatment," Amnesty said.

Israel has frequently been accused of medical negligence towards sick Palestinian detainees.

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In the eight years he was detained by Israel, Adnan was held in administrative detention for almost six years.

"Today [Wednesday] we reiterate Khader Adnan's demands for humane treatment and fair trials for Palestinian prisoners and an end to the use of administrative detention," Morayef said.

"Israel's military courts and the practice of administrative detention invert the basic tenets of justice, automatically treating Palestinians as suspects simply because of their race, and help to maintain Israel’s cruel apartheid system."

Israel arrested Adnan 13 times since 2014 because of his affiliation with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group's political arm, Amnesty said.

Though the organisation's military branch has conducted attacks on Israeli civilians, Adnan was never charged with involvement in violence.

Adnan is the 237th Palestinian prisoner to die in Israeli detention since 1967.