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Israel frees Palestinian after 56-day hunger strike

Palestinian Khader Adnan is greeted by Palestinians after his release from an Israeli prison in the West Bank village of Arrabeh near Jenin, yesterday. Israel has released a Palestinian prisoner who recently ended a 55-day hunger strike. Looking thin and pale, Adnan was transferred in an Israeli ambulance yesterday and handed to the Palestinian medical service. The senior member of Islamic Jihad had been held for more than a year in Israeli administrative detention. - AP

Palestinian Khader Adnan is greeted by Palestinians after his release from an Israeli prison in the West Bank village of Arrabeh near Jenin, yesterday. Israel has released a Palestinian prisoner who recently ended a 55-day hunger strike. Looking thin and pale, Adnan was transferred in an Israeli ambulance yesterday and handed to the Palestinian medical service. The senior member of Islamic Jihad had been held for more than a year in Israeli administrative detention. - AP

ARRABA: Israel yesterday released a Palestinian prisoner who staged a 56-day hunger strike which brought him near death in a protest against the controversial procedure allowing detainees to be held indefinitely without charge. Khader Adnan was greeted to a hero’s welcome in his village near Jenin, in the northern West Bank, that included fireworks, songs and flags for Islamic Jihad, the militant movement to which Israel says he belongs.

Residents wore shirts donning Adnan’s picture. The bespectacled 37-year-old, thin and with a long beard, was released before dawn in an apparent effort to limit attention to the move, initially expected at midday. A spokeswoman for the Israeli Prison Authority confirmed the release but provided no other details. Islamic Jihad congratulated Adnan in a statement for his “victory” and said a celebration was being organised in his village of Arraba.

Adnan had been held for a year under administrative detention, which allows imprisonment without charge for renewable periods of six months indefinitely. Of the 5,686 Palestinian prisoners currently held by Israel, 379 are detained under the procedure. His hunger strike, which had brought him near death by the time it concluded last month, had sparked warnings from the Palestinian government that it held Israel responsible for his fate. Regular protests were organised in support of him. Adnan ended his hunger strike on June 28 after Israel agreed to release him, at which point he was transferred to an Israeli hospital.

Debate over force-feeding An Israeli official said at the time that the deal was made possible after Adnan withdrew his demand that Israel undertake never again to place him under administrative detention. The official said Adnan’s deteriorating health and appeals from the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Palestinian Authority had contributed to the decision to release him. He was detained a year ago, shortly after the kidnapping and murder of three young Israelis, which triggered the arrests of hundreds of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. The killings were part of an upsurge in violence in the run-up to the 2014 Gaza war. Adnan had previously gone on hunger strike for 66 days in 2012 to protest against his detention. He was released at the end of the protest, during which he had ingested vitamins and salt.— AFP

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This article was published on 12/07/2015