Palestinian prisoner's death described as 'deliberate assassination' by PM

Prisoner did not eat for 87 days as he protested against repeated practice of administrative detention

Khader Adnan began his hunger strike shortly after he was arrested on February 5. Reuters.
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Israeli soldiers fired rubber bullets at Palestinians in Hebron in the occupied West Bank during clashes following the death of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan during a hunger strike in an Israeli jail.

Adnan, 45, a leading figure in the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, died after a hunger strike that lasted close to three months.

He began his protest shortly after he was arrested on February 5. Israel said he refused to undergo medical tests and receive medical treatment, and was found unconscious in his cell.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh described his death as a “deliberate assassination”.

He said this was “by rejecting his request for his release, neglecting him medically and keeping him in his cell, despite the seriousness of his health condition”.

The Israeli Defence Forces said that rockets fired from Gaza by militants on Tuesday fell in the area of the security fence in Israeli territory. A second volley was fired on Tuesday afternoon, the Israeli military said, while no casualties were reported.

The Waed Prisoners Association in Gaza told Reuters that Adnan “had been executed in cold blood”.

Originally from the occupied city of Jenin, Adnan had been in and out of custody and had embarked on hunger strikes five times since 2004 to protest against Israel's administrative detentions.

The practice allows Israel to hold detainees for up to six months without charge, with the option to renew every six months.

Palestinian organisations and rights groups say the system is widely abused and denies due process.

The Palestinian Authority asked for an international investigation into his death. It said it would file a complaint at the International Criminal Court.

Last week, Adnan's wife Randa Mousa told AFP that he was being held in the clinic at Ramla prison in central Israel.

“[He is] refusing any support, refusing medical examinations. He is in a cell with very difficult detention conditions,” she said.

“They [Israel] have refused to transfer him to a civilian hospital; they refused to allow his lawyer a visit.”

Physicians for Human Rights Israel visited Adnan this week, subsequently warning that he faced “imminent death” and calling for his urgent transfer to a hospital.

Despite Adnan’s deteriorating health, Israeli authorities refused to end his detention, allow his family to visit or transfer him permanently to a civil hospital.

The court had recently rejected his lawyer’s request that he be released on bail.

Israel’s prison service said Adnan had been charged with “involvement in terrorist activities”.

Israel is currently holding more than 1,000 Palestinian detainees without charge or trial, the highest number since 2003, according to Israeli human rights group HaMoked.

The Israeli military said on Tuesday morning that a shooting took place near a settlement in the north of the West Bank.

An Israeli civilian was taken to hospital after being hit by glass shards, it said. A search for those responsible was continuing.

Updated: May 03, 2023, 4:20 AM