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Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq begins new hunger strike Open in fullscreen

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Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq begins new hunger strike

Al-Qiq was released in May following a 94-day hunger strike [NurPhoto]

Date of publication: 9 February, 2017

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Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq announced a new hunger strike on Monday following an Israeli order to place him under administrative detention.

Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq has begun a new hunger strike to protest his re-arrest and detention in an Israeli prison without charge or trial.

According to his wife, Farah Shalash, al-Qiq announced his hunger strike on Monday following an Israeli order to place him under administrative detention, a an order by which Israel may indefinitely imprison people, with nether criminal charge nor trial, for renewable six-month periods.

The 34-year-old was re-arrested at a military checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah in mid-January, less than a year after his release in May from a six-month prison term without trial following a 94-day hunger strike.

At the time of his arrest last month, a spokesperson for the Shin Bet domestic security service told The Jerusalem Post that al-Qiq was arrested "on the basis of suspicions of involvement in incitement to terrorism against Israel and renewed activity with Hamas".

However, Israeli authorities have yet to present any evidence to support their accusations, which were denied by al-Qiq, who said he worked for the Saudi television channel al-Majd.

Al-Qiq's case was widely covered last year, and the United Nations expressed concern about his condition during his previous time in prison.

He was jailed for a month in 2003 and for 13 months in 2004 for alleged Hamas-related activities. 

In 2008, al-Qiq was sentenced to 16 months on charges linked to his activities on the student council at the West Bank's Birzeit University.

According to the latest statistics by Addameer, a Palestinian human rights organisation, there are currently 6,500 political prisoners in Israeli prisons, including 536 held under administrative detention.

The UN has repeatedly expressed concern about the Israeli practices of detaining Palestinians without charge or trial, describing it a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which defines humanitarian protection for civilians.

In August 2016, the UN urged Israel to charge or release prisoners held under administrative detention amid a fresh wave of hunger strikes by Palestinians in protest against their arbitrary incarceration.

"The number of administrative detainees is at an eight-year high. I reiterate the United Nations' long-standing position that all administrative detainees - Palestinian or Israeli - should be charged or released without delay," Robert Piper, the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, said at the time.

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