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Muhammad al-Qiq suspends hunger strike upon reaching agreement for his release

March 10, 2017 1:45 P.M. (Updated: March 14, 2017 5:42 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq has suspended his hunger strike upon reaching an agreement with Israeli authorities to be released in mid April, the Palestinian Prisoner's Society (PPS) reported on Friday.

It remained unclear the exact release date that was agreed upon. A spokesperson from the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) was not immediately available for comment.

Al-Qiq, who began his hunger strike on Feb. 6, was protesting being held in administrative detention -- Israel's widely condemned policy of internment without charge or trial.

Israeli authorities on Wednesday moved al-Qiq to the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tel Aviv, following a serious deterioration of his health condition, according to the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs.

Al-Qiq has lost at least 12 kilograms since he began his hunger strike, and according to the committee, was unable to stand on his own and suffered from severe headaches, dizziness, and ophthalmia.

Al-Qiq, who lives in Ramallah and is originally from Dura in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, was released from prison in May last year after he refused food for a grueling 94 days -- also in protest of his administrative detention at the time.

However, al-Qiq was redetained in mid-January after he participated in a protest in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem demanding the release of bodies of slain Palestinians held in Israeli custody.

Al-Qiq’s previous imprisonment by Israel -- widely condemned by the United Nations, Amnesty International, and other rights groups -- and subsequent hunger strike cast a spotlight on Israel’s use of administrative detention, its arbitrary imprisonment of Palestinians, and the concerted targeting of Palestinian journalists.

While Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention, which allows detention for three- to six-month renewable intervals, is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed that the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.

Rights groups say that Israel's administrative detention policy has also been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political and social processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.

According to Addameer, as of January, 6,500 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons, 536 of whom were being held under administrative detention.
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