Palestinian Journalist Urges International Intervention After 63 Day Hunger-strike in Israeli Detention

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A Palestinian man carrying a placard bearing a portrait of Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq at a demonstration north of Ramallah.
A Palestinian man carrying a placard bearing a portrait of Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq at a demonstration north of Ramallah.Credit: AFP

Relatives of Palestinian hunger striker Mohammed al-Qiq on Monday urged the international community to persuade Israel to release him.

Al-Qiq, a television reporter, has been on hunger strike for 63 days to protest his detention without trial. He was hospitalized in Haemek Hospital in Afula after losing consciousness, and his wife, Fayha Shalash, said she has been told by his attorneys that his condition is deteriorating severely and his life is in real danger.

Jawad Boulus, the legal advisor of the Palestinian Prisoners Society, told Haaretz that Al-Qiq has become partially paralyzed. “He has trouble speaking because of his weakness and is losing the ability to control his body,” Boulus said. “It’s doubtful the prisoner can survive many more days.”

Boulus added that though Al-Qiq began his hunger strike more than two months ago, neither the military prosecution nor other Israeli defense agencies have yet agreed to begin negotiating with him. Tomorrow, the High Court of Justice is slated to hear Al-Qiq’s petition against his administrative detention, and the state is supposed to submit its response to the petition today.

Last week, because of his serious condition, Al-Qiq was given intravenous liquids despite his objections. But his attorneys said he was not force-fed, and that the intravenous liquids were necessary to save his life.

MK Basel Ghattas (Joint Arab List) sent a letter to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Monday demanding that Al-Qiq be released. “You have the power to prevent further deterioration in the prisoner’s condition and to prevent the serious public ramifications that can be expected if any harm befalls the prisoner,” he wrote.

Molly Malekar, program director at Amnesty International Israel, argued that Israel should either put Al-Qiq on trial or release him. “Instead, it’s choosing a third option, which is to cause the death of a prisoner who is apparently innocent of any crime,” she said.

Haemek Hospital stated there had been no change in Al-Qiq’s condition as of press time last night. The Israel Prisons Service, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Public Security Ministry didn’t respond to requests for comment.

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