The Israeli Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday, 27 January that Mohammed al-Qeeq, the imprisoned hunger striking Palestinian journalist, must remain detained despite his critical condition and over two months on hunger strike. Held without charge or trial under administrative detention, al-Qeeq has consumed only water since 25 November 2015. He is currently held in HaEmek hospital, where he has been denied access to independent medical care.
Support and solidarity with al-Qeeq is growing; on his 63rd day of hunger strike, protests across Palestine and internationally are organized to demand his immediate release. Inside Israeli jails, 45 prisoners affiliated with the Palestinian leftist party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, launched a two-day hunger strike in solidarity with al-Qeeq, demanding his immediate release.
The PFLP prisoners in Megiddo and Gilboa prisons launched the hunger strike, saying that this is part of an escalating campaign of protest and struggle within the prisons. They demanded al-Qeeq’s freedom as well as an end to the isolation of Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed, who is being held in solitary confinement and denied winter clothing and blankets by the Israeli prison administration.
Samidoun will be organizing a protest in New York City on Friday, 29 January, and Inminds will hold a protest in London on the same day. Further protests elsewhere are expected to be announed in the coming days. Protests will also take place in various cities in occupied Palestine on Friday, following rallies in Nablus, Ramallah, Gaza City and outside the hospital where al-Qeeq is held.
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Former hunger striker Muhammad Allan raised his voice to demand al-Qeeq’s freedom, urging action on the Palestinian and international levels to free him before it is too late. On Wednesday, the Israeli supreme court deferred any action on al-Qeeq’s case, requiring daily reports on his health – Palestinian lawyers said that the decision amounts to a “rejection of his appeals and disregard for his life.” Al-Qeeq himself was not brought to court due to the severity of his health situation.
Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate have expressed the urgency of Al-Qeeq’s situation: he could die at any minute. Meanwhile, the U.S. and other governments are silent on the imprisonment of Al-Qeeq and other Palestinian journalists, while supporting Israel militarily, financially and politically.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!