Palestinian prisoner ‘ends’ 66-day hunger strike

photo_1329827169821-1-2-Quicklook.jpgKhader Adnan was arrested near the West Bank city of Jenin on December 17

A Palestinian prisoner has ended his 66-day hunger strike over his detention without charge under a deal that will see him released in April, a Palestinian minister told AFP on Tuesday.

“The Israeli court decided to release Khader Adnan on April 17 and based on that he ended his hunger strike,” prisoner affairs minister Issa Qaraqaa said.

There was no immediate confirmation from Adnan’s lawyer Jawad Bulus or from Israeli officials, and the Israeli Supreme Court was still scheduled to hear Adnan’s appeal against his detention in a hearing at 1300 GMT.

Adnan, 33, was detained on December 17 and began refusing food a day later to protest his detention without charge and his alleged mistreatment by interrogators.

His protest, already the longest hunger strike carried out by any Palestinian prisoner, has attracted international attention, and thrown a spotlight on Israel’s use of administrative detention, an antiquated military procedure which allows suspects to be held without charge.

Israeli officials have described Adnan as a “terrorist” from the radical Islamic Jihad movement, but have not charged him with anything nor made public any evidence against him.

In January, a military court handed down a four-month administrative detention order against Adnan, which he appealed in an unusual court session held at by his hospital bed in northern Israel.

His appeal was rejected, prompting Bulus to turn to Israel’s top court.

Originally scheduled for Thursday, the hearing was moved up after an urgent appeal by Bulus late on Monday, citing his client’s fragile state of health.

Doctors from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel who have met with Adnan have warned that his health was failing and that he faced “immediate danger of death” if he continued to refuse food.

Rights groups have also condemned the conditions in which Adnan is being held at Ziv hospital in the northern town of Safed, where he is shackled to the bed by chains on both legs and on one arm.

His case has sparked demonstrations across the Palestinian territories, with thousands of people taking part in protests on Tuesday in the West Bank cities of Nablus, Jenin, Hebron and Ramallah. A protest was also scheduled in Gaza City.

In Ramallah, shops shut down as part of a general strike in solidarity with Adnan, and Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails were also on hunger strike in support of the detainee.

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