Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq was released from Israeli prison after ten months jailed on Wednesday, 8 November. Al-Qeeq, 35, was seized by occupation forces in January 2017 as he returned home from a protest against the Israeli detention of the bodies of Palestinians killed by occupation forces.
Al-Qeeq became nationally and internationally known after his 94-day hunger strike against his administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, in 2015, in order to win his freedom. When he was once again seized by occupation forces in January he was ordered again to administrative detention; he immediately launched an open hunger strike. After 33 days on strike, he ended his strike with an agreement to dramatically reduce his administrative detention period. Only days before he was to be released, in March 2017, the Israeli occupation cancelled the administrative detention order and instead charged him in military court with “incitement” for speaking out about the issue of Palestinians’ bodies being held hostage by the Israeli occupation.
Al-Qeeq is one of hundreds of Palestinians who have been targeted for public statements, speeches, and even social media writing, for arrests, administrative detention and imprisonment via the military courts. He was sentenced to 10 months in Israeli prison.
Upon his release, Al-Qeeq said that “the prisoners looked to the resistance in Gaza as a sign of hope for freedom and liberation from the prisons of injustice and oppression,” noting that the prisoners are at the spearhead of the Palestinian people, separated from their beloved families and children for the Palestinian cause and nation. He urged unity and cohesion with the compass point of the Palestinian prisoners, especially the veterans who have spent decades in Israeli prison.
Fayha Shalash, al-Qeeq’s wife and a fellow journalist, said that her husband’s release was a “new victory over the Zionist occupier,” urging support for the over 6,200 Palestinian prisoners who remain inside Israeli prisons.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Mohammed al-Qeeq upon his release and demands the release of all Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails and an end to the targeting and detention of Palestinians for their political expression under the framework of “incitement.” The Israeli occupation is blatantly imprisoning Palestinians in an attempt to silence their anti-colonial resistance – even that which comes through words, speech or social media.