[Pnews] Israel releases Palestinian hunger-striker Muhammad al-Qiq from administrative detention

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu May 19 17:29:06 EDT 2016


*Israel releases hunger-striker Muhammad al-Qiq from administrative 
detention*


May 19, 2016 - http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=771568


HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities released Palestinian journalist 
Muhammad al-Qiq Thursday who came near-death in recent months during a 
94-day hunger strike in protest of his administrative detention.

The release of the hunger-striker marks the end of his six-month 
administrative detention -- an Israeli policy of internment without 
charge or trial based on Israeli “secret” evidence that even a 
detainee’s lawyer is barred from viewing.

In a rare move, Israeli authorities released al-Qiq near the illegal 
Israeli Beit Hagai settlement that sits on the southern Hebron hills in 
the southern occupied West Bank, according to Ibrahim Najajra, director 
of the Ministry of Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs in the Hebron 
district.

The family of al-Qiq, including his two children, excitedly waited for 
him at the Mitar crossing to welcome him back to his home in Palestine 
following his gruelling six month ordeal.

The 33-year old journalist from the northern occupied West Bank district 
of Ramallah was originally detained in November and initially embarked 
on his hunger strike to protest the torture and ill-treatment he faced 
in Israeli custody, but which soon developed into a demonstration 
against Israel’s internationally condemned policy of administrative 
detention.

Al-Qiq ended his 94-day hunger strike after his lawyer struck a deal 
with Israeli authorities toward the end of February. Although his 
immediate release was not granted, Israeli authorities agreed not to 
renew his administrative detention order and release the imprisoned 
journalist in May.

Al-Qiq’s imprisonment -- widely condemned by the United Nations, Amnesty 
International, and other rights groups -- and his subsequent hunger 
strike, which brought him to the brink of death, directed a spotlight on 
Israel’s use of administrative detention, its arbitrary imprisonment of 
Palestinians, and the concerted targeting of Palestinian journalists.

“They [Palestinian journalists] are now experiencing forceful and 
abusive detention because they have been the voice of human conscience, 
exposing crimes and oppressive practices of Israeli occupation against 
the Palestinian people,” al-Qiq said in a statement in late January.

“Palestinian journalists including myself are paying the toll of a 
racist Israeli policy,” al-Qiq wrote.

“When people are treated tyrannically, they are no longer worried about 
the consequences even if the toll is life. Thus, I entrusted myself in 
God’s hands and I will continue with this hunger strike, until martyrdom 
or freedom,” al-Qiq said in the statement.

Al-Qiq’s steadfast commitment to his hunger strike won him popular 
support among Palestinians across the occupied Palestinian territory, as 
they marched, protested, and clashed with Israeli forces in shows of 
solidarity with the detained journalist.

All the while, al-Qiq’s health continued to deteriorate at an alarming 
rate, with his wife, Fayhaa Shalash, reporting to Ma’an in February that 
the hunger-striker had become “unresponsive.” A little over a week 
later, one of al-Qiq’s lawyers told Ma’an he started suffering from 
sharp chest pains, numbness in his face, and had begun "shouting loudly, 
and screaming: 'Let me hear my son's voice, please God."

Al-Qiq's family was barred from visiting him during his hunger strike, 
despite an Israeli Supreme Court ruling that Israeli authorities must 
allow family visits for the critically ill prisoner.

Israeli authorities were also accused of forcing treatment on the 
hunger-striker during his detention in a direct violation of medical 
ethics.

Later in February, one of al-Qiq's lawyers reported at the time that 
al-Qiq was going to die at any moment after 92 days of the prisoner 
being on hunger strike.

Al-Qiq created a space for himself among the long line of Palestinian 
hunger-strikers who have used their bodies as a way of subverting the 
power of Israeli authorities and focusing international attention on 
Israel’s use of arbitrary detention as a weapon against the Palestinian 
population.

“The violence to which Palestinian prisoners are subjected must be seen 
within the context of Israel’s colonial project and its subjection of 
the entire population to different forms of violence, including the loss 
of their land, destruction of their homes, expulsion, and exile," Basil 
Farraj of the Palestinian policy organization Al-Shabaka said in a 
recent policy brief.

The various forms of violence Israeli agents and institutions inflict on 
Palestinians, coupled with the omnipotent control they hold over every 
aspect of Palestinian political and civil life, has created the 
conditions in which inflicting violence on your own body becomes one of 
the only avenues left to subvert a mechanism of control regularly used 
by Israeli authorities.

“Through hunger strikes, prisoners no longer remain silent recipients of 
the prison authorities’ ongoing violence: Instead, they inflict violence 
upon their own bodies in order to impose their demands. In other words, 
hunger strikes are a space outside the reach of the Israeli state’s 
power. The body of the striking prisoner unsettles one of the most 
fundamental relationships to violence behind prison walls, the one in 
which the Israeli state and its prison authorities control every aspect 
of their lives behind bars and are the sole inflictors of violence,” 
Farraj wrote.

All of the 700 Palestinians currently being held in administrative 
detention in Israeli prisons are not granted any rights to defend 
themselves in a fair trial, nor have they heard a single piece of 
evidence against them that could justify their detentions.According to 
prisoners' rights group Addameer, Israel’s policy of administrative 
detention is almost exclusively used against Palestinians.

Following a wave of violence that erupted across the occupied territory 
since October, Palestinian journalists have been targeted by Israeli 
forces amid a concerted crackdown on Palestinian media outlets, with at 
least 43 journalists being arbitrarily detained since the start of 
violence.

In a statement released in March, Palestinian media freedoms group MADA 
said Israel’s targeting of Palestinian journalists and media was 
neglecting “the main reason for the whole conflict, which is the 
continuous occupation and all systematic violations against Palestinian 
people.”

-- 
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863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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