Israel Freezes Al Qeeq’s Administrative Detention
IMEMC : Israel’s top court, on Thursday, suspended the administrative detention (without trial) of Palestinian prisoner Mohammad al-Qeeq citing medical concerns, 72 days into the prisoner’s life-threatening hunger strike.
Qadura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society, told Ma’an News Agency that Israel’s Supreme Court was freezing al-Qeeq’s six-month administrative detention order until his health improved.
However, he stressed that the sentence had not been overturned and that al-Qeeq was likely to remain on hunger strike.
“It’s a bad decision,” Fares said. “I don’t believe he will accept it.”
He said he believed al-Qeeq might use the opportunity to accept medical treatment while seeking a more acceptable solution.
Al-Qeeq has said that he will continue his hunger strike until “martyrdom or freedom.”
The 33-year-old journalist from the occupied West Bank initially went on hunger strike in late November, in protest of the torture and ill-treatment he said he faced while in Israeli custody. However, his protest quickly developed into another bid to challenge Israel’s use of administrative detention.
Numerous Palestinian prisoners have undertaken hunger strikes to protest the controversial and archaic practice, including Khader Adnan and Mohammad Allan, as of last year, who were both close to death by the time Israel agreed to their release.
In recent days, a number of international bodies, including the UN and the European Union, have expressed concern over al-Qeeq’s situation, as well as Israel’s use of administrative detention for some 660 Palestinian prisoners.
On Wednesday, UN official Robert Piper condemned the “arbitrary nature of his detention,” saying: “I reiterate the United Nations’ long-standing position that all administrative detainees — Palestinian or Israeli — should be charged or released without delay.”
The Palestinian Prisoners Society has said that Israel’s security establishment has, so far, shown little willingness to negotiate al-Qeeq’s release.
During previous hunger strikes, Israel authorities feared that prisoner deaths might spark unrest in the occupied territory. But, unrest has already shaken the territory for months while, last week, Fares said that the security establishment now believes it has “nothing to lose.”
Thursday’s court ruling mirrors a decision taken last year to temporarily freeze the administrative detention of Palestinian hunger striker Mohammad Allan.
Allan continued his hunger strike following that decision, and he only agreed to end the protest when Israel promised not to renew his administrative detention.