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Israeli court to hold hearing for hunger-striking journalist

Feb. 2, 2016 1:24 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 2, 2016 1:35 P.M.)
Palestinians protest outside of the Ramle prison in central Israel. (AFP/Jack Guez, File)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Israeli Supreme Court will hold a hearing on Thursday at 3:30 p.m for the case of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Muhammad al-Qiq, the Palestinian Authority's Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said Monday.

Al-Qiq, a 33-year-old journalist from the occupied West Bank and father of two, has been on hunger strike for 70 days to protest his administrative detention in Israeli jail -- internment without charge or trial.

The committee said the date of the hearing was confirmed after a meeting was held between the Shin Bet and the Israeli prosecution, in which they decided to continue al-Qiq's administrative detention.

The PA committee said the court might hold the session earlier if al-Qiq's health deteriorates further. 

Al-Qiq's condition severely deteriorated over the past several days. Lawyers from the PA committee have reported that the prisoner has lost his ability to speak, lost 60 percent of his hearing, and is suffering from redness and infection in his eyes. 

A decision on al-Qiq's case was last delayed in a court session held on Jan. 27, when the court approved to continue al-Qiq's administrative detention until his medical condition had been examined.

Despite a number of deals between Palestinian leadership and Israel to release Palestinians held in Israeli jails in the past, efforts to negotiate al-Qiq's release have been markedly unsuccessful.

In a statement released on Saturday, al-Qiq reiterated his commitment to his hunger strike to protest his treatment in Israeli detention.

“When people are been treated tyrannically, they are no longer worried about the consequences even if the toll is life. Thus, I entrusted myself in God’s hands and I will continue with this hunger strike, until martyrdom or freedom,” al-Qiq said.

The Israeli authorities have suggested that al-Qiq is being held for "incitement," working with Hamas-affiliated media, and being a "threat to security," although Amnesty International has said that withholding al-Qiq on secret evidence was unlawful.

An investigation by the rights group also revealed that al-Qiq had been mistreated and tortured during his administrative detention.
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