Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq was suddenly slapped with new charges before an Israeli occupation military court on 4 April, 10 days before his scheduled release from three months of imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention.

Al-Qeeq ended a 33-day hunger strike on 10 March after an agreement that his administrative detention would not be renewed when it expired on 14 April, three months after he was seized on 15 January by Israeli occupation forces as he returned home from a demonstration in Bethlehem.

Fayha Shalash, al-Qeeq’s wife and a fellow journalist, described the charges as “a dirty attempt to keep him in detention for as long as possible,” saying that new charges could be related to her husband’s participation in demonstrations in solidarity with prisoners and demanding the return of the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli occupation forces.

Shalash said that this action by the Israeli occupation “aims to break the will of the Palestinian prisoners and circumvent the hunger strike and send a message that strikes are useless, attempting to suppress the next strikes of prisoners in defense of their freedoms.”

Al-Qeeq previously won his release from imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention in 2016, after a 94-day hunger strike. He was released in May 2016 and has been a frequent participant in protests for Palestinian prisoners’ rights since that time.  Al-Qeeq will once again be brought back before the Ofer military court on Thursday, 6 April.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network strongly condemns the filing of new, unjust charges against Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq in a transparent attempt to keep him imprisoned only ten days before his release, secured through 33 days of hunger strike. We urge actions and protests by people of conscience around the world to immediately demand the release of Mohammed al-Qeeq and his fellow Palestinian prisoners.