Two imprisoned Palestinians launch hunger strikes for freedom


Update: A later report notes that Kayed Abu Rish has been on hunger strike since 14 January.

Two Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike in Israeli jails, joining Mohammed al-Qeeq, Palestinian journalist who has now been on hunger strike for 70 days in protest of his administrative detention without charge or trial. Al-Qeeq, who cannot speak and has lost 60% of his hearing, is in critical condition at HaEmek hospital in Afula, shackled to his hospital bed. Another hearing on his case has been scheduled in the Israeli Supreme Court on Thursday, 4 February – previous hearings have continued his detention without charge or trial.

Kayed Abu Rish, 45, from Al-Ein refugee camp in Nablus, has now been on hunger strike for 11 days. He is protesting the renewal of his administrative detention order; he has been held without charge or trial since January 2015. In August 2015, he engaged in a hunger strike, which he ended after a commitment to not renew his detention; instead, a new order for six months administrative detention was issued and confirmed yesterday, 1 February.

He joins Akram Zahra, a Jordanian prisoner who launched a hunger strike on 23 January because he has not been released; his sentence ended on 15 January, but instead of release, his detention was extended for one month. He is demanding his immediate release; he is being held in isolation.

Wissam Heimouni, also held under administrative detention, reportedly ended his hunger strike, following an agreement.

Both Abu Rish and Zahra are held in Megiddo prison, and their strikes were reported by a lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society who visited them on Sunday, 31 January.