Imprisoned Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq to be released in six months

Imprisoned Palestinian journalist and former long-term hunger striker Mohammed al-Qeeq will be released after six months after an agreement for a sentence of 10 and one-half months completed by his lawyer, said his wife Fayha Shalash on Thursday, 8 June.

Al-Qeeq, 35, was seized by Israeli occupation forces on the evening of 15 January as he returned to his home in Ramallah from a demonstration in Bethlehem demanding the return of the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israel that remain detained by Israeli occupation forces.

He was previously held without charge or trial under administrative detention; in November 2015, he launched a 94-day hunger strike, winning his freedom in May 2016. His case drew worldwide attention to the imprisonment of Palestinian journalists and the Israeli use of “administrative detention” to arbitrarily imprison Palestinians.

When he was seized by occupation forces on 15 January, he was shortly ordered to another six months in administrative detention, then cut to three months. He launched a 33-day hunger strike, which he suspended with an agreement that his administrative detention would not be renewed.

However, in mid-April, shortly before he was slated to be released, he was instead transferred to the military courts and hit with “incitement” charges related to his public speeches at events Bir Zeit University, his alma mater. While he was a student at Bir Zeit, he was president of the student council – and then arrested and imprisoned by Israeli occupation forces for his student activity.

Shalash noted that he recently participated in the Strike of Freedom and Dignity, the collective hunger strike that concluded after over 40 days of struggle.