Israel court to hear hunger striker’s case today

February 20, 2012 - 10:42:59 pm

RAMALLAH: Israel’s Supreme Court will today hear an appeal for the release of a Palestinian detained without charge who has been on hunger strike for more than nine weeks, his lawyer said.

The court had been due to address the appeal on Thursday but the case was brought forward by two days following an appeal by lawyer Jawad Bulus on behalf of his client, Khader Adnan.

Last week, Bulus lodged an urgent appeal with the court to lift the administrative detention order on Adnan, who yesterday marked his 65th day of a hunger strike over his detention without charge.

The court at first said it would hear the case on February 23. But Bulus made a fresh appeal on Monday to advance the hearing, prompting the court to reschedule the hearing, a court spokeswoman said.

Earlier, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat urged world leaders to pressure Israel to free Adnan. “I sent messages to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton today, and spoke with the EU and Chinese envoys,” Erakat said. “I asked them all to intervene in Adnan’s case. They must apply pressure on Israel to release him,” he said.

Israel arrested Adnan, a 34-year-old baker, on December 17 near the northern West Bank town of Jenin, where he once served as a spokesman for the militant group Islamic Jihad.

He began refusing food a day after his arrest, and after nine weeks of hunger strike is now said to be close to death.

World leaders have expressed growing concern over the fate of the prisoner, who is being held without charge under a procedure known as “administrative detention.”

Palestinian officials have warned that his death in custody could spark a violent backlash.