Monday, October 26, 2020

Palestinian journalist ends 94-day hunger strike after deal reached with Israel

By Marta Feirra - February 27, 2016
Section: [Main News]

Detained Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq ended on Friday a 94-day hunger strike after his lawyers struck a deal with Israeli authorities.

The 33-year-old journalist from Ramallah initially went on a hunger strike in November to protest against the ill-treatment he faced in Israeli custody, but his protest developed into a challenge of Israel’s use of administrative detention, internment without trial or charge.

The journalist was arrested by Israeli security forces on November 21 and held in administrative detention. 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.

Qadura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, told Ma’an News that even though Israel had not agreed to al Qiq’s immediate release, a “compromise” had been reached.

The deal stipulates that al-Qiq, who is hospitalized in the northern city of Afula, will not be transferred to a Palestinian hospital in East Jerusalem as he initially requested. However, his six-month administrative detention sentence will not be renewed, and lawyers pushed the date of his release to May 21. Al-Qiq will also be allowed visits from his family, including his wife and two children.

The Israeli army confirmed al-Qiq’s sentence would end on May 21, but added the situation would then “be examined to determine whether there is new information or security circumstances which require extending detention.”

The journalist has been in a critical condition for days. According to medical sources he is lucid but his body is growing weaker and faces the risk of collapse. Advocacy group Physicians for Human Rights said al-Qiq had survived longer without food than any other hunger striker on record.

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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