Palestinian prisoner in 82nd day of hunger strike can transfer hospitals

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) – A Palestinian journalist on the 82nd day of a hunger strike to protest being held in administrative detention can be transferred to an eastern Jerusalem hospital, Israel’s Supreme Court proposed.

Muhammad al-Qiq, 33, had requested through his lawyer that he be transferred to a hospital in Ramallah. He currently is hospitalized in HaEmek Medical Center in Afula.

The Supreme Court offered its proposal on Monday. Qiq’s attorney is to return with a decision on Tuesday, according to reports.

The Palestinian Maan news agency reported Monday that Hanan al-Khatib, a lawyer with the Palestinian Authority Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs, said in a statement that Qiq was suffering sharp pain in his chest and numbness in his face. He also had begun “shouting loudly, and screaming ‘Let me hear my son’s voice, please God,’” the statement said.


Qiq reportedly is at risk of heart attack, stroke and total systemic failure. He has refused all treatment and has taken only plain water, refusing the infusion of minerals.

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 his hunger strike. 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, who worked as a reporter for a Saudi television news station, has said he will continue the strike until “martyrdom or freedom,” according to Maan. He is protesting being held by Israel 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.

On Sunday, 16 senior Hamas operatives jailed in Israel announced that they had launched a hunger strike in solidarity with Qiq. They said they plan to add more prisoners to the demonstration each day, Haaretz reported.

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 at the West Bank’s Birzeit University, according to AFP.

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