Palestinian hunger striker ends protest on 93rd day

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) – A Palestinian journalist ended a 93-day hunger strike to protest being held in administrative detention by Israel.

Muhammad al-Qiq, 33, agreed Friday to end his hunger strike in exchange for being released from the detention in May rather than June, with no extension of the administrative detention. His request to be treated at a Palestinian hospital in eastern Jerusalem was not granted, however.

Qiq was set to remain in HaEmek Medical Center in Afula for treatment of the devastating effects of the hunger strike; he had been near death for several days. He had refused all treatment, taking only plain water and refusing the infusion of minerals.

Israel has kept Qiq in administrative detention since Nov. 24. Under administrative detention, a prisoner can be held for six months without being charged or tried. The order can be renewed indefinitely.

Earlier this month, Israel’s Supreme Court suspended Qiq’s detention due to his failing health from the hunger strike and offered to release him by May 1 if he halted it. Qiq reportedly responded that he would not accept an offer unless it ended his detention immediately and allowed him to be treated in a Palestinian hospital.

Qiq has been jailed by Israel before, including a month in 2003 and 13 months in 2004, the French news agency AFP reported. In 2008, he was sentenced to 16 months on charges linked to his activities on the student council of the West Bank’s Birzeit University, according to AFP.

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