Khader was arrested on 17 December 2011, when Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) raided his home outside Jenin at 3:30 am. Before entering his house, soldiers used the driver that takes Khader’s father to the vegetable market, Mohammad Mustafa, as a human shield by forcing him to knock on the door of the house and call out Khader’s name while blindfolded. A huge force of soldiers then entered the house shouting. Recognizing Khader immediately, they grabbed him violently in front of his two young daughters and ailing mother.
The soldiers blindfolded him and tied his hands behind his back using plastic shackles before leading him out of his house and taking him to a military jeep. Khader was then thrown on his back and the soldiers began slapping him in the face and kicking his legs. They kept him lying on his back until they reached Dutan settlement, beating him on the head throughout the 10-minute drive. When they reached the settlement, Khader was pushed aggressively out of the jeep. Because of the blindfold, Khader did not see the wall right in front of him and smashed into it, causing injuries to his face.
Though he was arrested at 3:30 in the morning, Khader was kept shackled until 8:30 am, at which point he was transferred to Megiddo prison. On his first day under arrest, Khader began a hunger strike in protest of his detention. The following morning, he was taken to Al-Jalameh interrogation center. Upon arriving to Al-Jalameh, Khader was given a medical exam, where he informed prison doctors of his injuries and told them that he suffered from a gastric illness and disc problems in his back. Instead of being treated, he was taken to interrogation immediately.
Four interrogators began to insult and humiliate him, especially using abusive language about his wife, sister, children and mother. On the first day of interrogation, he answered general questions despite the continuous spate of insults. After the first session, however, Khader stopped responding and began a speaking strike because of the interrogators’ use of increasingly graphic language. Interrogation sessions continued every day for the next ten days, excluding Mondays.
On his fourth day of interrogation, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) sentenced him in his cell to seven days of isolation due to his hunger strike. In order to further punish him without being required to go to court, the IPS also banned him from family visits for three months, revealing a pre-intention to keep him in detention upon completion of his interrogation. Khader was placed in an isolation cell in a section of the prison shared with Israeli criminal prisoners. On one occasion, a force of soldiers raided his cell in the middle of the night and strip-searched him. While in the isolation period, Khader continued to be under interrogation daily.
Each day, Khader was subjected to two three-hour interrogation sessions. Throughout the interrogation sessions, his hands were tied behind his back on a chair with a crooked back, causing extreme pain to his back. Khader notes that the interrogators would leave him sitting alone in the room for half an hour or more. Khader also suffered from additional ill-treatment. During the second week of interrogation, one interrogator pulled his beard so hard that it caused his hair to rip off. The same interrogator also took dirt from the bottom of his shoe and rubbed it on Khader’s mustache as a means of humiliation.
On Friday evening 30 December 2011, Khader was transferred to Ramleh prison medical clinic because of his deteriorating health from his hunger strike. He was placed in isolation in the medical clinic, where he was subject to cold conditions and cockroaches throughout his cell. He has refused any medical examinations since 25 December, which was one week after he stopped eating and speaking. The prison director came to speak to Khader in order to intimidate him further and soldiers closed the upper part of his cell’s door to block any air circulation, commenting that they would “break him” eventually.
On 8 January 2012, Khader was issued a four-month administrative detention order. As with all other administrative detainees, Khader’s detention is based on secret information collected by Israeli authorities and available to the military judge but not to the detainee or his lawyer. This practice violates international humanitarian law, which permits some limited use of administrative detention in emergency situations, but requires that the authorities follow basic rules for detention, including a fair hearing at which the detainee can challenge the reasons for his or her detention. These minimum rules of due process have been clearly violated in Khader’s case, leaving him without any legitimate means to defend himself. At the hearing in Ofer military court, Khader was threatened by members of the Nahshon, a special intervention unit of the IPS known for being particularly brutal in their treatment of prisoners, who told Khader that his head should be exploded.
After his interrogation period ended, Khader continued his hunger strike for multiple stated reasons: he considers his detention a violation of his rights and identity; he rejects the ill-treatment he suffered at the hands of the soldiers, interrogators, and Nahshon Unit; and he refuses to accept the unjust system of administrative detention. 30 days into his hunger strike, Khader suffered from overall fatigue and dizziness and continued to refuse to add any vitamins or salt to his water. The doctor in the medical clinic threatened to give him nutrition by force if he continued to resist medical treatment. He was watched at all times through cameras in his cell and if he did not move at night, soldiers knocked on his door violently. Over the next few weeks, Israeli authorities transferred him between multiple hospitals, which was hard on his health and made visits from lawyers increasingly difficult.
On 7 February, a military judge confirmed Khader’s administrative detention order. In the court decision, Judge Dalya Kaufman claimed that after hearing the medical assessment of the IPS physician, Khader’s medical condition seemed “acceptable” and provided no grounds for shortening or canceling the administrative detention order. This claim was made regardless of the questionable nature of the IPS medical assessment, given that Khader has refused to allow Israeli hospital staff to carry out his medical examinations. During the confirmation hearing, the military judge also claimed that she ruled out alternatives to administrative detention due to Khader allegedly “hiding” from the IOF, even though he was arrested from his own home. She further contradicted herself when noting that the secret file on which his administrative detention is based contains information that he is a high risk to Israeli security, while also admitting that this same material is not enough to bring actual charges against him.
A Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) doctor was able to visit Khader on 8 February. This examination was only his second since he began his hunger strike. Because Israeli Prison Service guards did not grant Khader and the doctor privacy during the examination, Khader did not feel free to discuss the full extent of his condition. Khader’s appeal hearing took place on 9 February, at Ziv medical center in Safad and was attended by his lawyers. His hands and feet were shackled while he was moved from his room in the hospital to a different room for the court hearing. During the hearing, the shackles were removed from his hands only. Israeli military appeals judge Moshe Tirosh did not reach a decision on Khader’s appeal until four days later.
The Israeli Military Appeals Court dismissed his appeal on 13 February. The court decision ordered Khader to remain detained for the full duration of his four month administrative detention order, to be expired on 8 May. In the decision, Judge Moshe Tirosh stated that according to the secret material available to the judge but not available to Khader or his lawyers, the court decision was “balanced”. Judge Tirosh completely disregarded Khader’s lawyers’ numerous arguments, including the lack of evidence that Khader Adnan has carried out any activities providing grounds for detention; that administrative detention is used in an arbitrary manner; and that affiliation to a political party is aligned with the right to freedom of expression, assembly and political association. Furthermore, in response to Khader’s statement during the appeals hearing on 9 February, which outlined the details of the torture, inhuman and degrading treatment to which he was subjected by Israeli Occupying Forces since his arrest, the military prosecutor stated that these allegations were exaggerated and did not take place in the way Khader described. In commenting on Khader’s life-threatening health condition, Judge Tirosh stated that only Khader was to blame for his physical health condition as a result of his choice to continue his hunger strike and that his medical condition will not influence the administrative detention decision.
Addameer lawyer Samer Sama’n was also able to visit Khader in Ziv Medical Center on 13 February. According to Khader, IPS forces carried out an extensive search of his room on 10 February, despite the fact that throughout his stay in the hospital room, IPS forces continued to shackle one arm and his opposite leg. Khader also stated that on 12 February, IPS personnel threatened to shackle all four of his limbs for reasons that were unclear to him.
On 16 February, a doctor from PHR-Israel who was able to make several visits to Khader reported that he was under a very direct threat of death. All of his muscles, including his heart and his stomach, were under threat of disintegrating and his immune system could have ceased to function at any moment. Khader’s body was at high risk of sudden heart attack or total organ failure, which would cause imminent death. Though Khader began to ingest various minerals in his water on 9 February and glucose on 14 February, these nutrients were not enough to prevent death after such a long period of hunger strike.
Khader’s petition to the Israeli High Court was cancelled on 21 February, only minutes before the hearing was to take place. On Khader’s 66th day of hunger strike in protest of his administrative detention and inhuman and degrading treatment by the Israeli authorities, one of Khader’s lawyers negotiated a deal with the Israeli military prosecutor that Khader will be released on 17 April instead of 8 May and that his administrative detention order will not be renewed.
Khader previously stated to Addameer lawyers that though he was calling for his immediate and unconditional release, the minimum requirements he would consider for ending his hunger strike would be the guarantee that he would not receive a new administrative detention order and that his duration of detention would be considered from the date of his arrest on 17 December 2011 and not from the date that he received his administrative detention order on 8 January 2012. The provisions of the deal reached on 21 February met these minimum requirements. However, if new “secret material,” upon which administrative detention is based, presents itself before 17 April, there would still be grounds for the renewal of his administrative detention order. This caveat is consistent with similar deals made in the past, in which Israeli officials leave the door open for re-arrests. Khader accounted that in the hours before the deal was negotiated with Israeli officials limiting his detention, he was threatened with being fed against his will—an action that would have been a violation of international law and medical ethics. Khader remained steadfast until he received his minimum conditions for release.
Following the cessation of his 66-day hunger strike on the evening of 21 February, a PHR-Israel doctor and Addameer lawyer Samer Sam’an visited Khader Adnan on 23 February to closely monitor his current condition. According to the PHR-Israel doctor at the time, “Khader will be facing a long, continuous recovery process.” According to Attorney Samer Sam‘an, Khader began eating three meals a day, but had been instructed to eat them slowly and in two different portions. Hospital personnel noted that even if he seems as though he is recovering well, it is important to remain cautious; each day of recovery holds major risks due to the complexity of balancing all of his needs and the potential failure of his heart. Khader fears he will be moved out of the hospital and into prison too soon.
An Israeli District Court reached the conclusion on 23 February to order the removal of Khader’s shackles in the hospital bed. In the court decision, Judge Avraham Tal stated his opinion on the case filed by PHR-Israel and Addameer: “In light of the petitioner‘s medical condition, shortly after a hunger strike, shackling him to the bed during all hours of the day and night, even only by one limb, is not proportional.” Khader was shackled continuously throughout his stay at Ziv Medical Center and the shackles were removed only after a petition to the district court was filed by Addameer and PHR-Israel on 9 February. Even then, they were only removed during the day and were put back on during the night. This continual shackling was not in accordance with the notice that the IPS gave to the court about removing the shackles completely. On 20 February, the two organizations appealed to court again, asking to reconsider the case regarding the shackling of Khader while he is hospitalized. During a hearing that took place on 22 February the IPS noted that as soon as he ended his hunger strike, they decided to “reinstate” the shackling of Khader to the hospital bed. 23 February’s ruling allows for Khader to be shackled by only one limb when in the presence of visitors “who are not authorized by the IPS of the medical staff that treats him.”
27 February, Khader went through surgery at Ziv Hospital, due to problems in his digestive system. PHR-Israel‘s volunteer doctor reached the hospital immediately to speak to Khader and his doctors before the operation. He reported that the operation went well and that Khader‘s condition is currently stable. During the transfer to the operating room, Khader was again shackled by arms and legs by the Israeli Prison Service wardens, in complete contradiction to the District Court decision of 23 February, and contrary to common reason.
This arrest is Khader’s eighth detention by Israeli authorities. He previously spent a total of six years in Israeli prison, mainly under administrative detention. In 2005, he launched a hunger strike that lasted for 12 days in protest of being held in isolation in Kfar Yuna.
On 7 February, Khader’s wife, Randa, and his two young daughters were permitted to see him for the first time since his arrest on 17 December. His wife described his shocking appearance, noting that his body had shrunken significantly, that he had blisters covering his face and tongue and that his hair, beard and nails were extremely long. He told her that he had not been allowed to shower or change his clothes or underwear since his arrest. His 4-year-old daughter repeatedly asked her mother, “Why is he tied to the bed? Why does he look like this? Why can’t he come home with us?” During the visit, both his legs and his right hand were shackled to the bed and soldiers stayed in the room the entire time. Nevertheless, he remained mentally aware and was able to fully express his love for his family. His wife, father, and daughters were able to visit him again on 15 February, but Israeli authorities did not grant permission to his mother, brother and sister to see him until right before the end of his hunger strike.