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Jailed journalist says will continue hunger strike until freed or dead

Jan. 28, 2016 5:14 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 29, 2016 2:28 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Muhammad al-Qiq said on Thursday that he was not surprised the Israeli Supreme Court had delayed its decision on whether or not to release him, his lawyer said.

Lawyer Jawad Boulos said al-Qiq, who has been on a hunger strike for 65 days, confirmed that he would continue his strike until he was either released or dead.

Boulos said that al-Qiq informed the medical staff and the Israeli Prison Service that he refused to be fed or treated medically by force, even if he fainted or died, adding that the prisoner was barely awake and in critical condition.

The prisoner made the decision without outside pressure, and fully accepted the consequences of his decision, Boulos added.

Al-Qiq, a 33-year-old journalist from the occupied West Bank and father of two began his hunger strike in November to protest his administrative detention -- internment without charge or trial.

On Wednesday, the Israeli Supreme delayed a decision on continuing or halting al-Qiq's administrative detention until his medical condition had been examined.

The office of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah reiterated in a statement on Thursday a condemnation of al-Qiq’s administrative detention.

“Israeli politicians and their surrogates have long claimed that Israel is the ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East, but this is a far cry from the truth,” the statement quoted Jamal Dajani, the communications director for Hamdallah, as saying.

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 said last week 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.

The PA prisoners' committee also warned Tuesday that further deterioration of al-Qiq's health or his potential death could have far-reaching consequences for Israel politically, including popular unrest among Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.
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