Middle East

Palestinian Khader Adnan hunger strike in Israel into 10th week

Students hold pictures of Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan in Nablus, the West Bank, 19 February
Supporters of Mr Adnan gathered in Nablus, the West Bank, on Sunday

A Palestinian prisoner being held in Israel without charges or trial has begun his 10th week of a hunger strike.

Khader Adnan has not eaten since mid-December when he was arrested by Israeli forces at his West Bank home.

Doctors say that after 64 days without food the prisoner is at immediate risk of death.

Israel says he is a security threat. Its high court of justice has scheduled a petitions hearing regarding the case for Thursday.

The group Phsyicians for Human Rights said after visiting him in hospital in Israel that he had lost a third of his body weight and was shackled to his bed.

He has agreed to take glucose and mineral infusions but could die at any time, the group said. It says Mr Adnan has suffered "significant muscular atrophy".

The 33-year-old baker is being held under what Israeli law calls administrative detention, meaning he can be held without trial or charges indefinitely if he is deemed to be a security threat.

He has been told he will be held for four months, although that could be extended.

Rally staged

Earlier this week thousands of Palestinians rallied in Gaza and the West Bank in support of Mr Adnan, who is widely believed to be a member of the militant group Islamic Jihad.

The group has said it will retaliate if Mr Adnan dies.

He is protesting against what he says was a violent arrest as well as his detention without trial.

Israel's high court of justice granted Thursday's petitions hearing in response to a request from Mr Adnan's lawyers, who are trying to secure his release.

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said she was following Mr Adnan's case with great concern.

She said prisoners had the right to be informed of any charges and to be subject to a fair trial.