Mohammed al-Qeeq on tenth day of hunger strike; Sami Janazrah scheduled for release today

Mohammed al-Qeeq, Palestinian journalist imprisoned without charge or trial under Israeli administrative detention, is currently on his tenth day of hunger strike to demand his freedom.

Al-Qeeq, 35, was seized by Israeli occupation forces at the Beit El checkpoint near Ramallah as he returned from a demonstration in Bethlehem on 15 January, demanding the return of the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli occupation forces. He was held under severe interrogation and subject to cruel, inhumane and torturous treatment for 22 days, after which he was ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial, reported his wife, fellow journalist Fayha Shalash. He was originally ordered to six months in administrative detention, which was then shifted to three months, in what Shalash emphasized was an attempt to break his strike.  Shalash said that her husband is continuing his strike and that he refuses the policy of administrative detention entirely.  He is currently held in isolation in Hadarim prison.

Al-Qeeq was held under administrative detention last year and conducted a 94-day hunger strike to demand his freedom, winning his release in May 2016. His case drew widespread Palestinian and international attention, highlighting the suppression of Palestinian journalists.

He is among over 530 Palestinians held without charge or trial under indefinitely-renewable administrative detention orders. Tawfiq Abu Irqub, the coordinator of the Islamic Bloc at Birzeit University, was ordered to four months in administrative detention without charge or trial on Monday, 13 February.  Mohammed Hasham and Mahdi Shuraitah were also ordered to four more months of imprisonment without charge or trial.

Fellow former administrative detainee and long-term hunger striker Sami Janazrah, 43, a Palestinian refugee from al-Fuwwar camp near al-Khalil, is scheduled for release from Israeli prison today, 14 February.

Imprisoned since 15 November 2015 and ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial, he conducted a 71-day hunger strike which he ended when occupation authorities agreed to transfer his case to the military courts. He was then sentenced to 16 months in Israeli prisons on allegation of “incitement” for posting on Facebook. Janazrah has spent a total of over 10 years in Israeli prisons.