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Israeli doctor says Palestinian hunger striker could face immediate death

Feb. 6, 2016 2:20 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 7, 2016 10:51 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Doctors at HaEmek Hospital where hunger-striking Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq is being held said late Friday that the prisoner could face “immediate death.”

Lawyer Hiba Masalha from the Palestinian Authority’s Prisoners’ Affairs Committee quoted the concerns of deputy director of HaEmek, Dr. Tubia, who said there was a “real danger” that al-Qiq’s internal organs were suffering damage.

Masalha said al-Qiq suffered several "worrying" seizures, shortness of breath, and constant intense dizziness.

“Each minute marks serious threat to his life, because it is probable that his inner organs will stop operating at any moment, leading to immediate death,” Tubia was quoted as saying.

The prisoner’s kidneys and intestines may face critical damage, the doctor said, adding that he could also suffer from cerebral hemorrhage.

Al-Qiq, a 33-year-old Palestinian and father of two, entered day 74 day on hunger strike in protest of his administrative detention by Israel.

Dr. Tubia told the PA committee that the hospital’s ethics committee had made a decision to allow medics to force treatment on al-Qiq, despite the striker’s refusal of treatment unless moved to a Palestinian hospital.

Israeli doctors forced treatment on the journalist last month, bringing outcry from international rights organizations and Palestinian leadership.

The PA committee said that lawyers, along with Palestinian member of the Knesset, Osama al-Saadi, were trying to reach a deal on al-Qiq with the Israeli prosecution.

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

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

Al-Qiq reportedly 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."

The Israeli authorities have suggested that al-Qiq is being held for "incitement," working with Hamas-affiliated media, and being a "threat to security."

Amnesty International meanwhile said last month that withholding al-Qiq on secret evidence under administrative was unlawful, and slammed Israel following reports of torture and mistreatment of the journalist.
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