Palestinian journalist keeps up hunger strike

NNA – Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq will keep up his hunger strike despite Israel’s suspension of a detention without trial order against him, his lawyer said on Friday.

The 33-year-old television reporter, who still cannot leave hospital without permission, is “determined to continue his fast until he is freed,” Jawad Boulos told AFP.

Israel’s Supreme Court on Thursday lifted the order to hold him under the controversial administrative detention law, which allows the state to hold suspects without trial indefinitely.

But the court ruled Qiq needs permission to leave the hospital where he is handcuffed to his bed.

The hospital told the court his life was in grave danger, after fasting for more than 10 weeks in protest at his detention.

“The patient at this stage — and in fact during recent days — is in grave danger and in a condition where there is a high risk of his sudden death,” court documents quoted the northern Afula hospital as saying.

The United Nations on Friday said that it was “extremely concerned” over his condition and called on Israel to end administrative detention.

“We reiterate our concerns at the situation of Palestinian administrative detainees who are held without charge or trial by the Israeli authorities, often on the basis of secret evidence,” the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement.

“We call, once again, upon the Israeli authorities to end their practice of administrative detention and to either release immediately or promptly charge and prosecute all administrative detainees,” it said.

Qiq, a father of two and a correspondent for Saudi Arabia’s Almajd TV network, was arrested on November 21 at his home in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

He has been refusing food since November 25 in protest against the “torture and ill treatment that he was subjected to during interrogation”, according to Addameer, a Palestinian rights organisation.

Shin Bet, the Israeli domestic security service, says Qiq was arrested for “terror activity” as part of the Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Qiq was jailed for a month in 2003 and then for 13 months in 2004 for Hamas-related activities.

In 2008, he was sentenced to 16 months on charges linked to his activities on the student council at the West Bank’s Birzeit University.–AFP