Hunger-striker’s wife calls for action to save husband’s life in harrowing video
Palestinian journalist is being held in administrative detention, an Israeli policy highly criticized by the UN, EU and other human rights groups. (AFP/File)
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According to Reuters, Israel has come under harsh questioning by the United Nations regarding its policy of keeping prisoners detained without charge.
The questions come after a three-month hunger strike by Mohammad Al Qiq, who has been detained by Israel forces since November, on accusations from Israel claiming that the Palestinian journalist is a member of Hamas.
Al Qiq is on the 86th day of his hunger strike in an Israeli hospital and doctors say he is growing weaker by the day. They added that he is in much pain, his speech labored and slow, Reuters reported.
The Palestinian is being held on a leftover policy from British mandate Palestine where a prisoner can be held for up to 60 days without charge or evidence against the prisoner and even longer with approval of the court.
Al-Qiq has been refusing any food or medical treatment, which has brought on concern from the UN, EU and other human rights groups who denounce administrative detention.
Reuters quoted Nickolay Mladenov, a UN envoy on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, as saying in a briefing before the UN Security Council, "I ... call for all persons subject to administrative detention to be either charged or released immediately."
The envoy’s statement supports criticism from an EU statement in January: "Detainees have the right to be informed about the charges underlying any detention, must be granted access to legal assistance, and be subject to a fair trial."
Israel defends its detention without trial policy claiming it prevents further violence in cases where there is not enough evidence to prosecute, or where there may be a risk of revealing the secret identities of informants.
Israel has accused Qiq of being involved with Hamas in Gaza.
"He is, in short, clearly a Hamas activist," Reuters reports the Israeli Supreme Court as saying.
However, Palestinian officials have refuted these claims saying that Al Qiq is being held for political reasons.
Qadura Fares, an advocate of Palestinian prisoners and chairman of the Palestinian Prisoner Club, is quoted by Reuters as saying: "If Israel has charges against him, bring him before a fair trial. Otherwise free him immediately."
The 33-year-old father of two, employed by Saudi-owned Al-Majd Television continues his strike despite the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision to suspend his detention, seeing him as no imminent threat due to his medical condition.
Al Qiq wants his detention suspended altogether, so continues his strike.
At midnight, Al Qiq called his wife, Faihaa Shalash, and children to the hospital.
According to Reuters, Faihaa said it was the first time that her husband had summoned her to come to him. “We are worried,” she said.
However, authorities will not let her enter Israel.
Though an Israeli law permits the use of force feeding hunger-striking prisoners, it has not been enacted after Israeli medical officials ordered doctors not to abide by the law, criticizing it as unethical and in violation of international conventions.
Reuters also reported that, according to the Israeli Prison Service, there are currently 600 Palestinians being held on administrative detention.