February 17, 2016
Supporters of justice for Palestinians are following news of the deteriorating health of Palestinian detainee Mohammed Al-Qeeq with great concern. Al-Qeeq, a Palestinian journalist is in his 84th day of a hunger strike in protest against his administrative detention. He is currently in Ha’Emek Hospital in the northern city of Afula . Al-Qeeq is a correspondent for the Saudi al-Majd TV network and resides in the West Bank.
Israel arrested 33-year-old Al-Qeek on 21 November, 2015 over allegedly being a Hamas activist but have not charged him. He is one of over 300 Palestinians Israel holds under administrative detention, a law which allows it to detain Palestinians without charge for periods of up to six months which are renewable. On February 4, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered a ‘freeze’ on his administrative detention and allowed him to receive visitors, but ruled that he may not leave hospital. He has refused to end his hunger strike unless he is released unconditionally.
Attorney Jihad Abo Raya explains: “In criminal law either a person is under arrest or he is free to move as he pleases, but for Palestinian detainees the court has created something new, they claim that Mohammed Al-Qeeq is no longer under administrative detention – but they also refuse to allow him to leave Afula hospital.”
In 2015, Israel approved a controversial law, allowing the force-feeding of hunger strikers whose lives are in danger, in order to avoid unrest that would follow the death of a Palestinian prisoner. There are no known cases of this law being put into practice to date.
The Israeli authorities have refused his request to be transferred for treatment to the Ramallah hospital.
Commenting on this latest abuse of the human rights of Palestinians Kamel Hawwash, Vice Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said
“Administrative detention is an abuse of the rights of Palestinians suspected of any wrong doing to be charged so they know what they are accused of and then a fair trial. This unjust practice leaves Palestinian detainees with no option but to refuse food for days to pressure Israel to charge them or release them. I call on all supporters of justice to contact their MPs asking them to demand the British Government intervenes immediately to save the life of Mohammed Al-qeeq. It should further demand that Israel ends this terrible practice”.