Lawyer Of Palestinian Hunger Striker Files Appeal

Published February 18, 2012 11:54AM (EST)

JERUSALEM (AP) — A lawyer of a Palestinian prisoner on a hunger strike to protest his months-long detention without trial said Saturday that he has appealed to Israel's Supreme Court to release him.

Lawyer Mahmoud Hassan said they were now racing against time to free Khader Adnan, now on his 63rd day of a hunger strike. His doctors warned on Wednesday that his death is imminent.

"We are hoping...the Supreme Court hears this case urgently," Hassan said. "He could die before the court hearing happens."

Hassan said Israel's Supreme Court hadn't set a date for the hearing. He said they filed the appeal on Wednesday.

Adnan is being kept guard in a hospital in northern Israel. He is drinking water and receiving a liquid infusion.

Adnan is protesting Israel's military justice system. The 33-year-old, a member of Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, says he was beaten and humiliated during his arrest and interrogation. He says his sentence is unfair.

Adnan is serving four months of an "administrative detention" sentence, under which an Israeli military judge can imprison Palestinians for six-month periods without charge.

The prisoners and their lawyers do not see the evidence against them.

An Israeli military judge knocked back an earlier appeal last week, saying he had reviewed the evidence and found the sentence to be fair.

Israeli military officials generally use administrative detention to hold Palestinians who they believe are an imminent risk to the country's security. Defenders of the system say if the evidence against the accused was made public, it would expose how Israeli intelligence-gathering networks operate in the Palestinian Territories.

Adnan was once a spokesman for Islamic Jihad and remains a member, his family says. But it's not clear if he ever directly participated in any attacks.

The militant group has vowed to punish Israel if Adnan dies. The group has a large arsenal of rockets that it can fire from Gaza into the Jewish state.

Also Saturday, Palestinian militants fired three rockets from Gaza into Israel, officials said.

Israeli police spokesman Shmuel Ben Ruby and a military official said the rockets landed an open area, causing no damage.

A years-old understanding between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers have halted much of the rocket fire from the tiny territory.

But Palestinian militants continue to fire salvos at Israel — either in defiance of Hamas, or with the militant rulers' quiet permission.

By Salon Staff

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