Condition of Palestinian hunger striker deteriorates

Friday 29/01/2016
He has been refusing food since November 25

JERUSALEM - A Palestinian detained by Israel and on hunger strike for over two months has lost his ability to speak and most of his hearing, his lawyer and family said Sunday.

Mohammed al-Qiq's condition is "very dangerous. He lost his ability to speak and 60 percent of his hearing," his lawyer Jawad Boulus said in a statement.

Boulus visited Qiq on Sunday at the Emek Medical Centre in the northern Israeli city of Afula, where he is being treated.

Speaking at a press conference, Qiq's wife Faihaa said doctors had told her family that her husband could no longer speak.

"What are they waiting for in order to release my husband or look into his arrest?" she asked, and answered: "Until he suffers a brain haemorrhage or becomes a martyr."

Spokeswomen for the hospital and the Israel Prison Service would not comment on the reports.

Qiq, a 33-year-old father of two and a correspondent for Saudi Arabia's Almajd TV network, was arrested on November 21 at his home in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

He is being held under Israel's controversial administrative detention law, which allows the state to hold suspects for renewable six-month periods without trial.

He has been refusing food since November 25 in protest against the "torture and ill treatment that he was subjected to during interrogation", according to Addameer, a Palestinian rights organisation.

He has appealed against his internment but Israel's Supreme Court refused to order his release on January 27 although it said it would follow his health on a daily basis.

Shin Bet, the Israeli domestic security service, says Qiq was arrested for "terror activity" as part of the Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

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

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.