Wife of Palestinian hunger striker calls for Egyptian help

MENA, Tuesday 14 Feb 2012

Um Abdel Rahman calls on Egypt to help release her husband, Adnan Khedr, from an Israeli jail where he's been on hunger strike for 59 days

Adnan Khedr's face from a poster calling for his release, (Image: Ahrarwledna.com, the official website for prisoners of the Islamic resistance movement).

Randa Adnan (known as Um Abdel Rahman), wife of detained Palestinian Khedr Adnan, has called on Egyptian authorities to intervene and secure his release in light of his deteriorating physical condition. Adnan has been on hunger strike for 59 days in an Israeli prison.

Um Abdel Rahman told the MENA news agency that: "Hope is now in Egypt to release Adnan. There's talk about Egyptian efforts to do so and I hope it's true. Egypt had an active role in the last prisoner exchange deal between Hamas and Israel – it is our older sister and we hope it intervenes."

She denied that her husband had entered a coma: "My husband's health is deteriorating but thank God he is still conscious. His attorney visited him last night. At first, he didn't respond to her but after a while, he sat up and talked with her.

"The last time I visited him was last week with the help of rights activists who managed to acquire us a visiting permit. Part of the torment Israel inflicts on us is denying us permits."

Describing her husband's physical state, Um Abdel Rahman said that when she last visited Adnan, his feet and hands were tied to the bed.

"I found him extremely thin, he had lost over 30 kilograms, his skin was pale and his hair was falling out. Ulcers had formed around his mouth and he was throwing up blood. He wasn't strong enough to carry his daughter," she said.

The circumstances of Adnan's arrest were also described by Um Abdel Rahman: "Israeli special forces surrounded our house in the village of Arraba, Jenin in the West Bank for 45 minutes at dawn before raiding, searching it and then detaining my husband."

She stressed that Adnan had neither taken part in militant activity nor had any relationship with the different warring factions. He was a member of the Palestinian reconciliation committee, she added.

Adnan began the hunger strike in protest at the poor treatment he received in detention and interrogation, which included physical abuse, and he continued the strike after the issuance of an administrative detention order (detainment without trial) against him.

"Doctors warned us that some of his internal organs could be damaged after 57 to 75 days of not eating, he is now entered a very precarious phase," she said.

"Arraba has become a destination for Adnan's supporters ... Supporters set up a tent in front of our home and Palestinian and foreign officials have come to the house to ask about his health."

Adnan, 34, is a leading figure in Islamic Jihad, a militant resistance group in Palestine. He is undergoing the longest hunger strike in the history of Palestinians in detention, whether alone or in groups. Palestinian and Israeli rights groups have warned of his dangerously poor condition.

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