Israeli Rights Groups Warn of Palestinian Hunger-striker's Poor Health

Detainee suspected by Israel of incitement and held without trial or proper legal representation, has refused food for over 40 days.

Jack Khoury
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Detainee Mohammed al-Qiq,  a married father of two who works as a journalist in Ramallah.
Detainee Mohammed al-Qiq, a married father of two who works as a journalist in Ramallah. Credit: Courtesy of family / Palestinian Prisoners Society
Jack Khoury

A Palestinian who has been on hunger strike for 43 days to protest his administrative detention is now in dangerously poor health, warned Israeli human rights groups and activists who work on behalf of Palestinian prisoners on Sunday.

Mohammed al-Qeeq, 33, a married father of two who works as a journalist in Ramallah, was arrested on November 21 for suspected incitement. Al-Qeeq denies the allegation, arguing that if he were really guilty of incitement, he would have been indicted instead of being imprisoned without trial.

Attorney Saleh Ayoub of the Palestinian Prisoners Society told Haaretz that when he visited Al-Qeeq three days ago at Haemek Hospital in Afula, he was refusing to take medication and even to drink water.

Al-Qeeq’s wife told the Israeli branch of Amnesty International that her husband has been held in isolation and had been barred from seeing a lawyer for over three weeks. Only last Tuesday, she said, was he finally allowed to see his lawyer and a representative of the Red Cross.

Amnesty said Israel should either indict Al-Qeeq or release him. It also demanded that a formal investigation be launched into Al-Qeeq’s claim that he was tortured during his interrogation.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society said a Jordanian prisoner, Abdallah Abu Jaber, has also been on hunger strike, albeit intermittently, since November 8. Abu Jaber was convicted of attempted murder for setting off a bomb on a bus in Tel Aviv that wounded 14 people, two of them seriously, in December 2000. He is demanding that he be allowed to serve out the remainder of his sentence in Jordan.

The Israel Prison Service confirmed that Al-Qeeq has been on hunger strike for over 40 days and was recently transferred to Haemek Hospital. But it said Abu Jaber has been on hunger strike for only about a week. He has been moved to the IPS clinic in Ramle.