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Palestinian hunger-striker at Israeli jail can no longer speak: Lawyer

1 February 2016 7:24


A Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike for over two months in an Israeli jail has lost his power of speech, his lawyer and family say.  

Jawad Boulus, lawyer for Mohammed al-Qiq, said his client’s condition is “very dangerous. He lost his ability to speak and 60 percent of his hearing.”

The hunger striker can now just communicate through signs, the lawyer said, adding that al-Qiq, a 33-year-old father of two and a correspondent for an Arabic TV network, is still conscious and refusing medical treatment.

This came after Boulus visited al-Qiq at the Emek Medical Centre in the northern Israeli city of Afula where he was transferred because of his worsening health condition.

Meanwhile, al-Qiq’s wife Fayha Shalash told a press briefing on Sunday: “What are they waiting for in order to release my husband or look into his arrest?” she asked, and answered: “Until he suffers a brain hemorrhage or becomes a martyr.”

The wife of Palestinian imprisoned journalist Mohammed al-Qiq, Fayha Shalash (L), flanked by her son Islam (R), addresses journalists during a press conference on her husband’s health situation on January 31, 2016 outside the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AFP photo)

On January 27, the journalist had appealed his internment but Israel’s Supreme Court refused to order his release.

The journalist was arrested on November 21 last year at his home in the occupied West Bank city Ramallah.

According to Addameer, a Palestinian rights organization, al-Qiq has been refusing food since November 25 to protest his detention without trial or charge. He is also protesting against torture and ill treatment that he was subjected to.

In 2008, Israeli authorities sentenced al-Qiq to 16 months in prison on charges linked to his activities on the student council at the West Bank’s Birzeit University.

Al-Qiq was also jailed by Israel for a month in 2003 and then for 13 months in 2004.

The journalist is now being held under Israel’s controversial administrative detention law, which allows the regime to hold suspects for renewable six-month periods without trial.

The figures provided by rights group Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) shows that more than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, dozens of whom are serving multiple life sentences.

Over 500 detainees are under administrative detention, which is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows the Tel Aviv regime to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods.

According to the Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, arbitrary detention should be exercised only in very exceptional cases, but Israeli officials routinely employ the practice against thousands of Palestinians.

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