A former Palestinian prisoner holds a portrait of Khader Adnan during a protest in the West Bank city of Hebron
A former Palestinian prisoner holds a portrait of Khader Adnan during a protest in the West Bank city of Hebron. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has urged world leaders to pressure Israel to free Khader Adnan, a prisoner on hunger strike for 65 days over his detention without charge. © Hazem Bader - AFP
A former Palestinian prisoner holds a portrait of Khader Adnan during a protest in the West Bank city of Hebron
Last updated: February 20, 2012

Erakat: World must pressure Israel over hunger striker

Israel's Supreme Court will on Tuesday 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 on Monday 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 Erakat 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 told AFP.

"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, and a spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service said on Sunday that they were "constantly monitoring" the situation.

"We understand the implications of this case," Sivan Weizman said.

But on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office went on the offensive, with a spokesman describing Adnan as "a dangerous terrorist" despite the fact he has yet to be charged with any security offences.

"This man was involved in planning terrorist activities against Israel," Ofir Gendelman told AFP.

In a series of postings on Twitter, Gendelman said a military judge and a military court of appeal had "found him a dangerous Islamic Jihad terrorist."

Until now, Adnan has not been charged and the military court that approved Adnan's detention has refused to release any details on the reason for his arrest or ongoing imprisonment.

"Those who call on Israel to release Khader Adnan, an Islamic Jihad terrorist, so he could kill our kids, wouldn't want him near their kids," Gendelman wrote.

Palestinians jailed in Israel are to stage a 24-hour hunger strike in sympathy with Adnan, the association of Palestinian prisoners said. Marches and demonstrations are also planned for Tuesday in the Palestinian Territories.

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