Last Updated: Wed Feb 22, 2012 15:34 pm (KSA) 12:34 pm (GMT)

Rana Khoury: A tale of two prisoners, Khader Adnan and Bobby Sands

Khader Adnan (L) and Bobby Sands (File photo)
Khader Adnan (L) and Bobby Sands (File photo)

The story of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner, Khader Adnan, has shaken the world, especially Israeli authorities, who have now been somewhat forced to re-examine their detention laws.

Even though many right-wing Likud partisans have condemned the Israeli court’s decision to release Adnan in April, referring to him as “terrorist”, the fact remains that Adnan’s hunger strike has beaten the system.

His protest, the longest hunger strike carried out by a Palestinian prisoner, has attracted international attention and put Israel under the spotlight for its use of administrative detention, a military procedure which allows suspects to be held without charge.

Many in the international press have called Adnan the Arab “Bobby Sands”.

And they sure have their reasons.

Sands was a Northern Irish activist, member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and allegedly opposed to what he described as the British occupation of Ireland.
During his trial in September 1977 he was being convicted of possession of firearms and was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment.

Adnan is a senior member of the Islamic Jihad, a group that is vehemently opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
He was detained in the West Bank in December last year but still remains to be formally charged with a crime.
Khader Adnan Moosa was born in 1978 to a Muslim family from Arraba, in the occupied West Bank.

Robert Gerard “Bobby” Sands was born to a Catholic family from Abbots Cross, Northern Ireland in 1954.

Both men were born in March, both were married and had children at the time of their captivity, and both men’s hunger strike in prison attracted world interest.

The main difference between Sands and Adnan, however, is “survival.”

Sands died in the Maze prison 66 days after first refusing to eat.

Adnan ended his hunger strike, also on the 66th day, after an agreement was struck that would see him released in April.

After Sands’ death, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, “Sands was a convicted criminal. He chose to take his own life. It was a choice that his organization did not allow to many of its victims.”

Earlier this week, Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that Adnan was a “self-professed leader” of Islamic Jihad which had been responsible for killing Israeli civilians and was recognized as a terrorist group.

Twenty-one years separate Sands’ hunger strike from Adnan’s, but the reality remains that the most violent inhuman detention conditions are best beaten by the most non-violent human forms of protest.

Comments »

Post Your Comment »

Social Media »