Palestinian leader Khader Adnan, who was detained on Dec. 17 last year by Israel for activities that threaten the Jewish state’s regional security, has been on a hunger strike for over 55 days to protest his arrest.
Adnan who is a West Bank leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an Iranian backed militant group charged by Israel for killing many of its citizens in suicide bombings and rocket attacks, was then arrested in his home near the West Bank city of Jenin by a group of armed Israeli security personnel.
He began his hunger strike a day after a team of Israeli interrogators subjected him to a process of humiliation, insult and verbal abuse. His wife, Randa Adnan and lawyers told CNN on Saturday, that Adnan continues to be mistreated, suffers under long periods of solitary confinement and abusive interrogation sessions as well as multiple strip searches.
Adnan’s health has deteriorated since December 30, which prompted Israeli prison officials to move him to a hospital facility. Although he has refused treatment from Israeli doctors, he has been allowed to meet with representatives of the Israeli branch of Physicians for Human Rights, which in a statement expressed “grave concern” about his medical condition, according to CNN.
It was only this week that his wife was able to visit him in the hospital. She said he resembled a “caveman.”
“He appeared dirty and emaciated with long hair, nails and a beard, and he was manacled to his bed with only his left arm free,” she added.
Prior to his arrest, Randa said her husband weighed just over 200 pounds. But she found her 33-year-old spouse, now weighing no more than 121 pounds. She told CNN that “it is something beyond description, as there is no sign of life in him ─ this is how I found him.”
The nearly two-month protest marks the longest hunger strike in Palestinian history, which is bringing increasing criticism to Israeli’s arrest and detention policies for Palestinians.
The Israeli military has said little about why Adnan was arrested, saying his case was being handled “strictly according to the law” with “special attention being given to his humanitarian situation.”
The police military has also released short three-sentence statement reading saying, “Khader Adnan was arrested with an administrative warrant for activities that threaten regional security. This warrant was authorized by judicial review. An appeal was filed by the defendant against this decision and is currently under review,” according to CNN.
Adnan was arrested under a controversial Israeli military practice known as “administrative detention” that allows Israel to hold detainees until further notice on security grounds. They charge detainees on secret evidence with no trial rights to defend themselves.
As of December 2011, Israel held 307 Palestinians as administrative detainees, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, marking a 40 percent increase from a year earlier.
While Adnan’s detention draws wider criticism, his hunger strike has prompted growing demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza and encouraged other Palestinian prisoners to take up hunger strikes in support.