Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Hunger striking Palestinian journalist nearing death

By Marta Feirra - January 27, 2016
Section: [Main News] [Behind Bars]
Tags: [Hunger Strike] [Hamas] [press freedom] [Administrative detention]

Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq, who has been on hunger strike for 63 days, is near death. He has been taken to the HaEmek Hospital in Afula last month and could die at any moment, according to attorneys.

Ashraf Abu Sneina, a lawyer with the Palestinian Authority Committee for Prisoner’s Affairs, said al-Qiq lost conscience after more than two months without food, and is now unable to speak, exhibiting “symptoms that could lead to his death”, Ma’an News reported.

The 33-year-old journalist from the West Bank town of Dura started a hunger strike on November 24 to protest against his detention and internment without trial or charge. Held in administrative detention, evidence against al-Qiq has been kept secret by Israeli authorities.

Israel’s controversial administrative detention law allows the state to hold suspects without charge for six months,  a period which can be renewed indefinitely. The military judge at the Ofer Military Court said al-Qiq is accused of “incitement,” “working with media associated with Hamas” and also of being a “threat to security.”  The Shin Bet, Israel’s intelligence service, said al-Qiq was arrested for “terror activities” as a collaborator with Hamas.

Amnesty International said on Friday that Israeli authorities “must immediately cease all non-consensual medical treatment and other punitive measures against Palestinian journalist Muhammed al-Qiq.”

An investigation carried out by the human rights group revealed the journalist had been mistreated and tortured, adding that Israel is in violation of international law.

The medical rights group Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) called on doctors to stop “forced treatment” and respect international human rights law.

The World Medical Association forbids pressuring patients to end hunger strikes and forced medical treatment. Seventy-one British doctors called on the World Medical Association to expel Israel from the body, accusing Israeli doctors of carrying out “medical torture” on Palestinians. ´

Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails often start hunger strikes to protest against poor conditions and unlawful detentions. According to Addameer, a prisoner’s rights group, there are nearly 7000 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons, of whom about 660 are held without trial or charges.  


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