By FRANCIS HUGHES
Khader Adnan has defeated ‘Israel’, its Apartheid Law, its discrimination and its racist Judiciary. Convicted of no crime .Charged with no offence, Interned without trial. He fasted for justice he hungered for truth and after 66 days on hunger strike facing the Israelis and death with equal steadfastness they capitulated and offered him his freedom on Tuesday February 21st.
There’s a lesson here ‘Israel’ fears world opinion. They cannot justify Internment without trial. How long before the 309 Internees held under this travesty of justice this failure of democracy go on strike too.
“Free Palestine Free Adnan and all those jailed without conviction due process or evidence. From the river to the sea Palestine the prisoners the refugees and the people with their land will be free. This is but a start”. That was my post on the Social Networking Site Facebook upon hearing Khader Adnan had ended his fast and forced Israel and its Apartheid Government to guarantee his freedom and bring forward his release date.
‘Israel’ can be beaten.
It’s not omnipotent and all powerful .There are chinks in the armour .It have several Achilles heels. While ‘Israel’ is backed by the most powerful Imperialist country in the world America who bank rolled the Zionist State to the tune of $156 billion dollars from 1949-2006 and continues even today to donate military support in the shape of helicopters gunships and F16 fighter jets along with tear gas and crowd control weapons plus 3 billion dollars in annual subsidies.
How brave then of one man in a cold and lonely cell shackled to a hospital bed to show his family, his children, his friends ,his people, his comrades, the Arab Nation, Israel America and the World at Large; what one person can do in extreme circumstances to demand his dignity his honour his treatment as a human being with equality and justice under the law; If that’s possible being a Palestinian before a racist Israeli Court and he won!
“I hereby assert that I am confronting the occupiers not for my own sake as an individual, but for the sake of thousands of prisoners who are being deprived of their simplest human rights while the world and international community look on.” Khader Adnan, Ramleh Prison Hospital – February 11, 2011.
With echoes of Bobby Sands, M.P. (R.I.P) the H Blocks Campaign and the 1981 Hunger Strike words of support flooded from Ireland to Palestine to Khader and his family almost daily. Former Irish Hunger Striker Tommy Kearnan. Michelle Gildernew Sinn Fein’s Member of Parliament. The Families of Raymond McCreesh and Francis Hughes all sent video messages of support.
Vigils were held in Belfast Dublin London and New York. Thousands went on protests in both the West Bank and Gaza.
With Palestinian Unity between Hamas and Fatah becoming a reality an opportunity exists for both parties to rally around the issue of the prisoners and put’ Israel’s’ Apartheid laws under the Spotlight and demand an end to Extra Judicial Military Courts Secret Hearings and Administrative Detention.
Khader Adnan is a 33 year old Palestinian with his home in the occupied West Bank in Arraba near the town of Jenin. He is married with two children and his wife is five months pregnant carrying their third child. He is a Baker by profession and has a Degree in Economics from Bierzit University .He was detained by’ Israeli’ soldiers on December 17 2011 during a raid on his home at 3.30 am. They called using a human shield a family friend who called out his name to get him to come to the door.
He started the hunger strike after claiming he was abused threatened insulted and beaten during the interrogation by ‘Israeli’ Authorities. It began on December 18 2011.
Having been jailed under ‘Israel’s’ detested Administrative Detention Order which contravenes International Human Rights Law as all evidence is given in secret and the detainees legal team are refused access to these accusations then there is no right of rebuttal. So no charge no court no conviction just imprisonment without trial. De Facto Internment.
Having spent nearly 6 years away from his family and community in ‘Israeli’ jails mostly held under this immoral and repugnant apartheid law Khader had come to the end of his tether. He had enough and demanded his freedom. Charge me or release me!
This detention orders (Military order 1651) usually last 6 months and can and are extended at the whim of the military.
His hunger strike was not just for his freedom but for all those held under Administrative Detention .Currently there are 309 Detainees including 24 Members of Palestinian Legislative Council
I hope he makes a full recovery although 66 days on hunger strike will leave a huge legacy on his life with atrophied muscles weakened heart and eye sight.
His wife Randa and two young daughters Maali 4 and Bissan 18 months finally got to visit their father for the first time on February 7.He told them he had been refused the opportunity to wash shower or even change his clothes or under wear since his detention on December 17!
Khader will be released on April 17 however he can be re-arrested and reinterned at any time because although he will have his freedom this archaic apartheid law has as yet not been re peeled. That’s the next fight!
Facts and figures about Palestinian prisoner conditions
Throughout the Israeli military occupation of Palestine since 1967, Palestinians from all walks of life have been illegally detained by Israel. Since 1967, over 700,000 Palestinians have been detained – totalling approximately 20% of the total Palestinian population remaining within the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The majority of those detained are male, meaning that the number constitutes approximately 40% of the total male Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza.
According to Military Order 938 “supporting a hostile organisation by holding a flag or listening to a nationalist song” is considered a “hostile action”. Because of ‘Israel’s’ wide definition of “security”, Palestinians can be arrested or imprisoned for practically any form of public activity, regardless of whether or not they actually present any legitimate security threat to Israel.
Following their arrest by ’Israel’, Palestinian detainees are often beaten and stripped in a humiliating manner incondusive to cultural norms. The interrogation is then carried out in an inhumane and degrading way, which often amounts to torture. Although the ‘Israeli’ High Court outlawed in September 1999 the use of various methods of torture by the ‘Israeli’ Security Agency, the practice remains widespread. According to Israeli Human Rights Group B’tselem, up to 85% of Palestinian detainees are subject to torture.
Methods of torture include: sleep deprivation, tying a detainee to a chair in painful positions, beating, slapping, kicking, threats, verbal abuse and humiliation, bending the body in extremely painful positions, intentional tightening of handcuffs, stepping on worn manacles, application of pressure to different parts of the body, forcing the detainee to squat in a painful position, choking and other forms of violence and humiliation (eg spitting and pulling hair out). Ill treatment in solitary confinement includes: sleep deprivation, exposure to extreme heat and cold, continuous exposure to artificial light, and confinement in inhuman conditions.
Furthermore, the prison conditions are appalling; many detainees are accommodated in tents which are extremely hot in the summer and cold in the winter. There is according to the military regulations in force in the occupied Palestinian Territories, a child over the age of 16 can be considered as an adult, contrary to the definition of a child as being under 18 in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (to which ‘Israel’ is a signatory).
In practice however, children as young as 12 have been charged and sentenced in ‘Israeli ‘military courts. Between the ages of 12-14, children can be sentenced for offenses for a period of up to 6 months. After the age of 14, Palestinian children are tried as adults. There are no juvenile courts, and children are often detained in centres together with adults.
This is again in direct contravention with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that “every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child’s best interest not to do so”.
Between September 2000 and August 2008, an estimated 6,700 Palestinian children were arrested and detained in Israeli prison facilities and treated in the same manner as adults. Overcrowding and the food is poor, resulting in high rates of anaemia among prisoners.
(The facts and figures about Palestinian prisoner conditions above were taken from the Palestine Monitor)
FRANCIS HUGHES : A Palestinian activist from Ireland and member of Palestine Aid board of directors.
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