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Group requests transfer of hunger striker to Palestinian hospital

Feb. 12, 2016 2:54 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 12, 2016 10:20 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Prisoner's Society said Friday that it has filed an appeal with the Israeli Supreme Court requesting the transfer of Palestinian hunger striker Muhammad al-Qiq to a Palestinian hospital.

The journalist, nearing 80 days on hunger strike to protest his detention without trial, last week refused medical treatment unless he was transferred from Israel’s HaEmek Hospital where he is currently being held.

The prisoners' society said they had filed the appeal as al-Qiq's health continued to deteriorate. Doctors have warned repeatedly that al-Qiq is near death, and could face irreversible damage even if he receives treatment soon.

Due to his poor health, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled on Feb. 4 to temporarily suspend his detention, which would resume once his health improved.

Al-Qiq rejected the ruling, saying he would not end his hunger strike unless Israel agreed to his full release.

The Palestinian Prisoner's Society on Wednesday said Israel was "not showing attention or willingness" to solve al-Qiq’s case and held the Israeli authorities "completely responsible" for his life.

Amnesty International criticized the Feb. 4 ruling, saying that the “suspension” appeared to be "a mere gesture, designed to offer the illusion of freedom to prompt al-Qiq to end his hunger strike."

Israel has negotiated in cases of hunger strikes launched by Palestinian prisoners in the past out of fear that prisoners' deaths could spark unrest in the occupied Palestinian territory, but the territory has already faced months of turmoil.

The head of the Palestinian Prisoner's Society, Qadura Fares, said earlier this month that the Israeli security establishment now believes it has "nothing to lose" by failing to release al-Qiq before his death.
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