Detention of hunger-striking Palestinian journalist suspended


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court has suspended the administrative detention of a Palestinian journalist who has been on a hunger strike for 72 days.

The court said it was suspending the detention of Muhammad al-Qiq in reaction to Qiq’s poor health due to his hunger strike. Last week his attorney said he was unconscious, on the verge of organ failure and could die at any minute.

Qiq is protesting being held by Israel in administrative detention since Nov. 24. He has said he was tortured during interrogation, according to reports.

Under administrative detention, a prisoner can be held for six months without being charged or tried. The order can be renewed indefinitely.

Under the Supreme Court order, Qiq cannot leave the hospital without permission and his family will be allowed to visit him. His detention has not been canceled, just suspended.

The order came after doctors at the HaEmek Medical Center in Afula refused to force-feed Qiq.

An Israeli law passed in July allows the force-feeding of prisoners, though it has yet to be invoked.

Qiq has been jailed by Israel before, including a month in 2003 and 13 months in 2004, the French news agency AFP reported. In 2008, he was sentenced to 16 months on charges linked to his activities on the student council at the West Bank’s Birzeit University, according to AFP.

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