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Hunger-striking journalist no longer responsive, says wife

Feb. 5, 2016 5:55 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 5, 2016 10:43 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an ) -- The wife of hunger-striking Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq said Friday that her husband's health had continued to deteriorate and he was no longer responsive to visitors.

Fayhaa Shalash, a journalist herself, told Ma’an that al-Qiq's health had shown a decline since Thursday when she said he had still been responsive.

Shalash expressed her concerns as al-Qiq entered his 73rd day on hunger strike to protest his administrative detention by Israel, internment without trial or charge.

Dozens of Palestinians meanwhile performed Friday prayers in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office in Gaza City in support of al-Qiq.

Sheikh Wael al-Zarad called for the release of the prisoner and demanded that journalistic and international rights institutions intervene for al-Qiq’s release.

Alongside the Palestinian leadership and other international groups, ICRC last month called on Israel "to find a solution that will avoid any loss of life" in al-Qiq’s case, but the calls have yet to pressure Israel to release the journalist.

Al-Qiq on Thursday rejected an Israeli court decision to temporarily suspend his detention without trial and said he would continue his hunger strike until he was released.

The detainee also said he would refuse medical treatment unless transferred to a Palestinian hospital.

The Israeli Supreme Court suspended his six-month administrative detention sentence citing medical concerns, with the sentence to be resumed upon an improvement of his health.

The Palestinian Authority Committee of Prisoners' Affairs told Ma'an at the time that al-Qiq viewed the court ruling as an attempt to undermine his resistance against the "immoral and inhumane administrative detention."

Al-Qiq has said he will continue his hunger strike until "martyrdom or freedom."

He is one of at least 660 Palestinians being held in administrative detention, a policy that senior UN official Robert Piper earlier this week said Israel should immediately halt.
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