Palestinian Hunger Striker Mohammed Al-Qiq's Condition Takes a Turn for the Worse

Al-Qiq launched a hunger strike 72 days ago to protest his detention without trial.

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

The condition of Palestinian administrative detainee who has been on a hunger strike for two and a half months has deteriorated in recent days. The ethics committee of Ha’amek Hospital in Afula convened Wednesday with representatives from the Israel Prison Service to discuss the case of Mohammed Al-Qiq, who has been on a hunger strike for 72 days to protest his detention without trial. 

Al-Qiq is refusing any nourishment, including liquids. The hospital said that at this point it was merely monitoring his medical condition without intervening. It added that there were no plans to force-feed him. “All treatment is subject to the laws of the land and in keeping with medical ethics,” the hospital statement said.

Attorney Jawad Boulos, who heads the legal department of the Palestinian Prisoners Society, told Haaretz that the ethics committee had convened because Al-Qiq’s medical condition had deteriorated in the past few days. The last report from Wednesday morning stressed that he was very weak and had difficulty speaking and hearing, but that he was conscious and aware and was refusing liquids or any other assistance.

According to Boulos, because of Al-Qiq’s worsening condition, another hearing is to take place on Thursday to discuss the petition against his administrative detention and the request to release him due to his medical condition. According to Boulous, as of Wednesday afternoon there had been no contacts with the military prosecution regarding a possible deal, as had been arranged in the cases of previous hunger strikers Muhammad Allan and Khader Adnan. 

Meanwhile Wednesday, the Nazareth District Court postponed a hearing on a petition submitted by Physicians for Human Rights against the fact that Al-Qiq was tied to his bed and was otherwise restrained. The hearing has been rescheduled for next week.

Demonstrations and vigils protesting Al-Qiq’s detention are being held throughout the West Bank and in front of the hospital. On Thursday, a rally on his behalf is slated to take place in Haifa.

Al-Qiq, 33, is a journalist from Ramallah who often gave interviews with media outlets affiliated with Hamas, and is considered critical of the Palestinian Authority.  

Al-Qiq was arrested on November 21 in connection with his alleged involvement in terror activities. But his family is convinced he is being detained because of his writing. "He is accused of incitement and making contact with people in Gaza and elsewhere," his wife said. "Mohammed believes he didn't make any violations, which is why he started a hunger strike. We are worried for his life."