On Friday, 27 January, the Israeli prison administration suddenly transferred Palestinian journalist and former long-term hunger striker Mohammed al-Qeeq from the Petah Tikva interrogation center to the isolation section of Hadarim prison from the Petah Tikva interrogation center.
This came one day after al-Qeeq’s detention was extended by the Ofer military court for the third time after his arrest on 15 January at the Beit El checkpoint near Ramallah as he returned from a demonstration in Bethlehem protesting for the return of the detained bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli occupation forces. His detention has been extended three times since then and his family home and the apartment he shares with his wife were raided by Israeli occupation forces. His wife, Fayha Shalash, was also summoned to Israeli interrogation on Wednesday, 25 January.
Al-Qeeq was released from administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial – in May 2016, after he carried out a 94-day hunger strike to demand his release. His hunger strike gained international notice and highlighted the persecution of Palestinian journalists. Al-Qeeq has pledged to launch an open hunger strike if he is once again ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial. He is expected to be brought before military court again on 2 February.
Current Hunger Strikers
Meanwhile, Randa Shahatit, held in isolation in HaSharon prison, is now on her seventh day of hunger strike. Shahatit was seized by occupation forces on 20 January; the former Palestinian prisoner was released in 2011 as part of the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange when 17 months remained in her 50-month sentence. She was seized by occupation forces in August as she went to the hospital with her 3-month-old daughter and held for 12 days before being released on bail and under confinement to the area of her village while a secretive military committee determined whether to reimpose her prior sentence – as has happened to dozens of Palestinian prisoners. On 3 January, it was announced that her sentence would not be reimposed and her bail conditions were lifted; only two weeks later, she is now being accused of violating her conditions of bail. She is on hunger strike against her arrest and isolation.
Also on hunger strike for the fourth day is Islam Dar Musa, 24, who launched a hunger strike on 25 January to demand to be housed with his also-imprisoned father, Sheikh Saleh Dar Musa, 52. Islam is held without charge or trial under administrative detention since August 2016, and his administrative detention was renewed in December; his father is serving 17 life sentences. Islam was denied a transfer to Ramon prison to be with his father. He has not seen his father since he was last imprisoned in 2013.