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Jailed Palestinian journalist calls off long hunger strike

26 February 2016 18:02



Jailed Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq has put an end to its grueling 94-day hunger strike that had exposed him to an immediate risk of death after his lawyers reached an agreement with Israeli authorities for his release in May.

Lawyers Hanan al-Khatib and Hiba Masalha, of the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs, said Qiq officially ended his hunger strike on Friday in a statement made in front of his family members, Arab members of the Knesset as well as some members of the committee.

Qadura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, said the Palestinian journalist will continue to receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals until his release on May 21.

He said Qiq was now accepting medical treatment and was allowing doctors in HaEmek Medical Center, where he has been held for most of his hunger strike, to examine him.

Fares said Qiq would also be allowed visits from his family, including his wife, two children, and father.

Fayha Shalash, the wife of hunger striking Palestinian prisoner Mohammed al-Qiq, speaks during a press conference in the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) on February 12, 2016. (© AFP)

Qiq had been on hunger strike since November 25, 2015, to protest his administrative detention, a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention facilities without trial or charge. Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to eight, ten and eleven years.

The father of two, who used to work for Saudi Arabia’s al-Majd TV network, has been accused by Israel’s Shin Bet internal spy service of “terror activity” involving the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas.

The Palestinian journalist denied the charges and began the hunger strike after facing torture during interrogation.

A Palestinian man lying on a bed wears a face covering depicting hunger striking Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq, on February 19, 2016, during a demonstration in solidarity with him in the occupied West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah. (© AFP)

Last week, the Supreme Court of Israel dismissed Qiq’s appeal to be transferred to a hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, ruling that he must remain in the northern Israel hospital, where he is currently being held.

The United Nations had expressed concern about his fate, and the International Committee of the Red Cross had described his condition as critical.

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