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27 days into hunger strike, Muhammad al-Qiq moved to hospital as health deteriorates

March 8, 2017 2:52 P.M. (Updated: March 8, 2017 5:54 P.M.)
A file photo of Muhammad al-Qiq during his previous hunger strike in 2016.
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities have moved hunger-striking Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq to the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tel Aviv, following a serious deterioration of his health condition, according to the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs.

The committee said in a statement Wednesday that al-Qiq, who has been on hunger strike for 27 days, had lost 12 kilograms of weight since he began his hunger strike, and is now unable to stand on his own and suffers from severe headaches, dizziness, and ophthalmia.

Despite his condition, the statement added, “al-Qiq insists on continuing with his hunger strike until he is set free."

The statement called on all human rights organizations and "all states which claim to be democratic" to exert pressure on Israel, "the criminal occupier" to free al-Qiq “before it's too late.”

Al-Qiq has been refusing all forms of food and supplements, consuming only water, in protest of being held under administrative detention, Israel’s widely-condemned policy of internment without charge or trial.

Al-Qiq, who lives in Ramallah and is originally from Dura in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, was released from prison in May last year after he refused food for a grueling 94 days -- also in protest of his administrative detention at the time.

However, al-Qiq was redetained in mid-January after he participated in a protest in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem demanding the release of bodies of slain Palestinians held in Israeli custody.

Al-Qiq’s previous imprisonment by Israel -- widely condemned by the United Nations, Amnesty International, and other rights groups -- and subsequent hunger strike cast a spotlight on Israel’s use of administrative detention, its arbitrary imprisonment of Palestinians, and the concerted targeting of Palestinian journalists.

While Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention, which allows detention for three- to six-month renewable intervals, is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed that the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.

Rights groups say that Israel's administrative detention policy has also been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political and social processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.

According to Addameer, as of January, 6,500 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons, 536 of whom were being held under administrative detention.

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