Mohammed al-Qeeq, imprisoned Palestinian journalist, has entered his 68th day of hunger strike, demanding his immediate release; he is held without charge or trial under administrative detention.
In a public statement al-Qeeq released through lawyer Hanan al-Khatib of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Committee, he said that “Palestinian journalists have always been on the frontline,” and “are now experiencing forceful and abusive detention because they have been the voice of human conscience, exposing the crimes and oppressive practices of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people…Palestinian journalists, including myself, are paying the toll of a racist Israeli policy.”
Al-Qeeq, in critical condition, is shackled to his hospital bed in HaEmek hospital in Afula. He wrote out his will on Friday, asking to see his wife and children and to be buried in his mother’s tomb if he passes. A hospital report released on Saturday, 30 January, noted that his medical condition has deteriorated sharply and that he has lost the ability to speak.
Al-Qeeq has been on hunger strike since 25 November; he was interrogated for up to 15 hours a day, bound to a chair in stress positions. He launched his strike in protest of the torture to which he was subjected and has sustained it in protest of his administrative detention. He is one of 660 Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention, and one of 6800 Palestinian prisoners.
On Friday, 29 January, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stated that he was “concerned” by the situation of al-Qeeq; spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that:
In response to questions, the Spokesman said that noting the 27 January decision by the Israeli High Court to remand Mohammed al-Qiq in custody under administrative detention, the Secretary-General is concerned about his health condition. Mr. al-Qiq has been on hunger strike since 25 November in protest against the arbitrary nature of his detention.
The United Nations on the ground is closely following the overall situation of Palestinian detainees and reiterates its long-standing position that all those detained – Palestinian or Israeli – should be charged or released without delay.
1. Contact government officials and demand that they break their silence on Al-Qeeq and support for Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. In the United States, call the Israel Foreign Service Desk
1-202-647-3672 and the White House – 202-456-1111. Demand action on al-Qeeq’s case and an end to aid to Israel. In the UK, call UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Philip Hammond, MP, +44 20 7008 1500. In Canada, call Foreign Minister Stephane Dion: 613-996-5789.
2. Protest at an Israeli consulate or embassy (or federal building or public square) and demand freedom for Mohammed al-Qeeq. Raise the issue of this case publicly and distribute information – this flyer is available for you to distribute at protests in your community. Find your closest Israeli consulate: http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/israel. Please email us email@example.com to inform us of your action – we will publicize and share news with the prisoners.
3. Boycott, Divest and Sanction. Palestinians have urged an international boycott of Israeli goods and institutions – and corporations that profit from occupation , like G4S, the world’s largest private security company, that sells security equipment to Israeli prisons, checkpoints and police training centers – directly profiting from the occupation that destroys Palestinian lives. At the same time G4S profits from occupation, institutions like the United Nations continue to do business with it. Go to addameer.org/UNdropG4S to take action!