Hundreds gathered today at the entrance to the Ofer prison and military court, where Palestinians are tried and imprisoned by Israel. The protest was held in solidarity with Palestinian prisoner, Khader Adnan, who has been on hunger strike for the past 56 days in protest of his detention and maltreatment by Israeli authorities. Adnan, who was arrested on December 17th, 2011, was placed under what Israel euphemistically refers to as “administrative detention”, which is in fact open-ended detention without trial or even charges.
Shortly after protesters started gathering in front of the gate that leads to the prison, Israeli Border Police officers began shooting volleys of tear-gas and rubber-coated bullets at the protesters. 16 people were injured by rubber-coated bullets in the clashes that ensued, including three journalists and an ambulance driver.
Additionally, two Palestinians and two Israeli activists were detained during a demonstration in the village of Beit Omar, dedicated by the local popular committee to solidarity with Adnan. The two Palestinians, Saqer and Youssef Abu Maria, were brutally beaten during their arrest. After his arrest, Youssef Abu Maria was made to kneel on the ground and had his hands cuffed behind his back. One of the Border Police officers then pushed Abu Maria down the terrace they were on, causing him to hit his head on a large rock leading to substantial bleeding.
Khader Adnan, 33, is a father of two from the village of Arraba in the Jenin district. His wife is currently pregnant with their third child. Prior to his arrest, Adnan worked as a baker while studying for a master's degree in economics at the Bir Zeit university.
On December 17th, 2011, Israeli soldiers stage a pre-dawn raid on Adnan's home at around 3:30 am. Before entering his house, the soldiers illegally used a local driver, Mohammad Mustafa, as a human shield by forcing him to knock on the door of the house and call Adnan’s name. Adnan was violently taken from his house by the soldiers in front of his two young daughters and his mother. He was blindfolded, hand-cuffed and put into a military jeep where the soldiers beat him up.
In protest of humiliating treatment during his interrogation, and later on of the "administrative detention" imposed on him on January 8th, 2012, Adnan went on an open-ended hunger strike, already spanning over 56 days.
Adnan is currently admitted at an Israeli hospital in Safed, where he is held shackled to his bed, despite being on the brink of death. In spite of his volatile condition, a military judge failed to hand down a decision in an appeal of the administrative detention held last Thursday, February 9th. According to Addameer, the military judge, Colonel Moshe Tirosh, said he will give his ruling withing a week.
According to the Israeli Prison Service, Israeli authorities were holding 307 Palestinians in administrative detention as of December 31, up from 219 administrative detainees at the beginning of 2011.