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Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan on hunger strike for 55 days

Since 2004, Khader Adnan has been on four hunger strikes in Israeli prisons, one of which lasted 67 days
Adnan with his daughters in the West Bank village of Arraba after his release from prison in 2015 (AFP/File photo)

Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan has been on hunger strike for 55 days in protest of his "arbitrary detention" in Israeli military prisons, his wife, Randa, told Middle East Eye on Friday.

Adnan, 40, a veteran prisoner and national symbol of Palestinian resistance, has been on hunger strike four times since 2004, including one stretch that lasted 67 days.

Randa said she last saw her husband on 22 October - day 51 of his hunger strike - in Salem military court, near the town of Jenin in the occupied West Bank. He was taken to the courtroom in an Israeli military vehicle known as the Bosta, she said.

"His face was pale and his beard and hair were long. They didn't allow him to have a shower, change his clothes or trim his beard as a means of pressuring him to end his hunger strike," Randa told MEE.

File photo of Khader Adnan staging a previous hunger strike in 2017 (AFP)

Adnan started his hunger strike on 2 September, less than a year after he was arrested on 10 December 2017 and jailed without charge.

The Israeli military court system has postponed his trial 17 times since then. His next hearing is scheduled for 29 October.

"No doctor has been allowed to check (on) his health, but I could see that he lost half of his weight and that his hearing is weak," Randa said. "He entered the courtroom in a wheelchair and was (too) weak to stand on his legs."

A symbol of Palestinian resistance

Adnan has been imprisoned 11 times since 2004 for being a member of the Islamic Jihad group in the West Bank. A grassroots activist, he is also a spokesperson for Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails.

When he launched his current hunger strike, the Israel Prison Service responded by placing him in solitary confinement, first in Rimon and then Jalama, two Israeli prisons in the occupied West Bank, Randa said.

"No one was allowed to visit him, neither a lawyer nor a human rights organisation. On day 31 of his hunger strike, the Red Cross visited him, and on day 37, he was transferred to Ramle hospital, where he is now," she told MEE.

'They didn't allow him to have a shower, change his clothes or trim his beard as a means of pressuring him to end his hunger strike'

-Randa, Khader Adnan's wife

Adnan launched his first hunger strike, which lasted 25 days, in 2004 to protest being held in administrative detention, an Israeli procedure that allows it to detain Palestinians without charge for six-month periods.

These periods of detention can be renewed indefinitely and Palestinian prisoners can spend years in prison under administrative detention.

Adnan's second, 67-day hunger strike ended in 2012, while the third was in 2014 and lasted 54 days, upon which time he was released from prison.

His second hunger strike served as inspiration for a wave of Palestinian prisoners who were also detained under administrative detention and started hunger strikes alongside him.

"They want to break Adnan," Randa said, "because he became a victorious symbol in Palestine and around the world."