Palestinian ends hunger strike as Israel agrees his release

Published: Updated:

An imprisoned Palestinian journalist ended a 32-day hunger strike on Friday after receiving assurances Israel would not extend his detention without trial next month, his wife and lawyer said.

It will be the second time within a year that 34-year-old Mohammed al-Qiq, who works for the Saudi television channel Al-Majd, has been released by Israel from so-called administrative detention following a prolonged hunger strike.

An Israeli military court ruled on Thursday that Qiq’s detention would not be extended when it expired next month, his lawyer Khaled Zabarqa told AFP.

Qiq’s wife, Fayha Shalash, said that the journalist, hospitalized near Tel Aviv, has ended his hunger strike and called his release expected on April 14 a “judicial victory.”

The Israel Prison Service confirmed to AFP he had stopped refusing food and would be released next month.

In May 2016, Qiq was released from a six-month prison term without trial following a 94-day hunger strike.

He was arrested again in January near the West Bank city of Ramallah for alleged “terror activity” on behalf of the Islamist group Hamas, the Shin Bet domestic security service said at the time, a claim he denied.

He was also accused of undermining the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.

A military court in February ordered he be imprisoned for six months which were later reduced to three.

The controversial Israeli administrative detention laws allow the state to hold suspects without trial for periods of six months, renewable indefinitely.