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Muhammad al-Qiq transferred back to prison after recovering from latest hunger strike

April 19, 2017 11:04 P.M. (Updated: April 20, 2017 1:10 P.M.)
(File)
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Imprisoned Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq -- who prominently staged a months-long hunger strike in 2016 -- was transferred to Ohalei Kedar prison on Wednesday after having been held in the Ramla prison hospital since his latest hunger strike.

Al-Qiq suspended a 33-day hunger strike in early March upon reaching an agreement with Israeli authorities to be released in mid-April.

However, al-Qiq’s wife, Fayhaa Shalash, told Ma’an that Israeli authorities would soon hold a trial for al-Qiq, who has been transferred back to prison after his health sufficiently recovered following his strike.

Al-Qiq has staged two major hunger strikes -- the first one lasting a grueling 94 days -- to protest being held in administrative detention, Israel's widely condemned policy of internment without charge or trial.

The 34-year-old journalist, 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 his first hunger strike.

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.

The announcement on Wednesday came as some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners entered the third day of an open-ended hunger strike led by Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi known as the “Freedom and Dignity” strike to denounce a number of abusive measures used by Israeli prison authorities against Palestinian prisoners in violation of international law.

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 March, 6,300 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons, 500 of whom were being held under administrative detention.
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