An Israeli military court yesterday dismissed an appeal against the detention of a Palestinian man being held without charge and entering day 59 of a hunger strike.

The Israeli army raided the house of Khader Adnan Mohammed Musa, 33, in the early hours of December 17, blindfolding and handcuffing him in front of his two young daughters and pregnant wife before driving him away in a military jeep. Khader, from Arraba, near Jenin, is a spokesman for the militant political party Islamic Jihad, which is prominent in the northern West Bank.

Khader began a hunger strike one day into his detention when it became apparent he would not be charged with an offence and instead held under a process known as administrative detention — allowing the use of secret evidence offered by Israeli authorities and available only to the military judge but not to the detainee or their legal representatives. The state of Israel authorises its military to issue administrative detention orders against Palestinian civilians. Individuals may be held for renewable periods of up to six months and there is no limit on the number of renewals.

At Monday’s appeal hearing, during a sitting of the Israeli Military Appeals Court at Ofer, Judge Moshe Tirush ruled the secret information regarding Khader was enough to maintain his administrative detention. Referring to the evidence, Judge Tirush indicated Khader’s involvement with Islamic Jihad was a reason for his arrest and subsequent detention.

In response to a statement from Khader, detailing allegations of torture and degrading treatment suffered since the time of his arrest and delivered at an appeal hearing on February 9, Israeli prosecutors accused him of exaggeration and fabrication. Judge Tirush also stated that Khader was responsible for his current health and his decision to continue the hunger strike would not influence the court’s decisions in relation to administrative detention.

Doctors from the non-governmental organisation Physicians for Human Rights-Israel visited Khader on Monday in only the third medical consultation he has received since beginning the hunger strike. After about 42 days, individuals not consuming food lose their hearing and vision, suffering bleeding in the gums, intestines and esophagus, and the body gradually shuts down. After 45 days there is a high risk of death due to vascular system collapse or cardiac arrest.

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association lawyer Samer Sama’n visited Khader, who was shackled to his bed, in Zif Medical Centre in Safad. The Palestinian human rights organisation subsequently issued a statement condemning the military court’s “blatant disregard” of Khader Adnan’s life-threatening condition and its inaction in undertaking a serious investigation into the allegations of “torture, abuse, inhuman and degrading treatment” during the arrest, interrogation and detention. The statement added that Khader’s health has entered “an alarmingly critical stage that will have irreversible consequences and could lead to his fatal collapse at any moment”.

On Saturday, large numbers of Palestinians demonstrated in front of Ofer military prison in support of Khader. They were met with teargas and rubber bullets, some of the protesters in turn threw rocks at the soldiers.

There are more than 300 Palestinians in administrative detention in Israeli military prisons. International law allows for administrative detention but only in emergency situations but the authorities must allow for a fair hearing in which the detainee can challenge the reasons for their detention.