Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike in critical condition
Hunger strikes have become increasingly common as Palestinians are imprisoned without trial under a process called administrative detention. (AFP/File)
A Palestinian journalist on a 48-day hunger strike in Israeli prison is now in critical condition, the man's wife and a Palestinian official told Associated Press on Monday.
Mohammed al-Qeq has been protesting his six-month sentence which was handed down without trial or charge, under a measure called administrative detention. Shin Bet, Israel's internal security agency, did not respond to requests for comment. He has been held on accusations of "incitement."
"Al-Qeq is in critical condition after 48 days in hunger strike and his life is at risk," said Issa Qaraqe, the Palestinian minister of prisoner affairs.
Al-Qeq, 33, is a correspondent for the Saudi news channel al-Majd and has also appeared as an analyst for other news channels linked to Hamas. Israel arrested him on Nov. 21, and was previously arrested for his activities with Hamas' student organization.
It has become more common for Palestinian prisoners to use hunger strikes as a way of drawing attention to their detention without trials. Al-Qeq is the first journalist to go on hunger strike in Israeli prison.
Out of fear that a prisoner starving to death could spark unrest, Israel has at times acceded to prisoners' demands by releasing them at the end of their detention terms. Often, the terms of administrative detention are extended, still without due process.
Israel passed a law last year allowing them to force-feed prisoners if his life is in danger, even if the hunger striker refuses. The law is controversial and has been protested by Israel's medical establishment.