The following statement was issued by the Phiippines-Palestine Friendship Association on 17 February, as Mohammed al-Qeeq enters his 85th day of hunger strike. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network also extends its strongest solidarity with the struggle of the people of the Philippines at all levels, and, in particular, joins the call to free all Filipino political prisoners:
The Philippines-Palestine Friendship Association stands in solidarity with Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq, currently under illegal detention without defined charges and trial by the Israeli occupation forces, as he approaches the critical stage in his hunger-strike to obtain his complete and unconditional release.
Al-Qeeq was abducted by Israeli forces inside his home in Ramallah at 2:00 am on Nov. 21, 2015. He was shackled, blindfolded, left in the open air, interrogated for long hours, thrown in an isolation cell, and afterwards, served a six-month administrative detention order authorizing his continued incarceration. He has no access to charges against him, which are kept in classified files by Israel.
Al-Qeeq is now on his 91st day of hunger strike. He has lost over half his body weight, and is unable to see or talk properly; and appears to be close to death. Despite the urgency of his situation, Israeli authorities have adamantly refused his petition to seek medical treatment in a Palestinian hospital.
With his health rapidly deteriorating, the Israeli Supreme Court has been forced to “suspend” his administrative detention. Al-Qeeq, however, has rightly rejected the gesture as he is demanding his complete freedom and the cancellation of his administrative detention.
The illegal arrest and detention of al-Qeeq is part of the Israeli agenda to impede and gag journalists and activists from speaking publicly about Israel’s genocidal war in Palestine and the continued colonisation of their lands by illegal settlers.
Israel’s use of administrative detention is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Conventions which prohibit an occupying power from detaining members of the occupied population outside the occupied territory and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which requires it to inform those arrested of the reasons for the arrest at the time, promptly inform them of the charges against them, and provide a fair and public trial.
Currently, Israel is holding around 6,800, mostly political prisoners, and 660 of them are being held in administrative detention. The number of Palestinian journalists languishing in Israeli jails is at 17.
The harassment, silencing, and violation of rights of activists and journalists are experiences that Palestinians and Filipinos share as nations struggling against violent occupying powers.
According to the Philippine-based rights watchdog and PPFA steering committee member-organisation Karapatan (Rights), there have been 911 cases of illegal arrest and detention documented from 2010 to 2015 under Pres. Benigno Aquino’s term. Last Jan. 8, 2016 political prisoner and former peace consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) died in prison after succumbing to a heart attack. He had endured 11-long years in prison owing to false charges that the court eventually dismissed.
In 2015, Reporters without Borders ranked Philippines as 8th of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. Since Aquino’s assumption as president in 2010, 26 journalists have been murdered according to Human Rights Watch.
We call on all Filipino peoples’ organisations, including human rights advocates and journalists, to voice out their outrage to Israel’s blatant disregard of al-Qeeq’s right to due process and to seek medical attention.
We call on all freedom loving citizens of the world to demand the release of all Palestinian and Filipino political prisoners.
Free Mohammed al-Qeeq! Free all Palestinian political prisoners!
Free all Filipino political prisoners!
From the Philippines to Palestine, occupation is a crime!