Activists in Israel call for release of Palestinian hunger striker

Jerusalem, Jan 15 (IANS) Dozens of activists and legislators rallied on Thursday outside a hospital in northern Israel, where a Palestinian journalist on a 51-day hunger strike was admitted in critical condition.

Israel’s Shin Bet security services suspect Mohammed al-Qeeq, 33, has ties to Hamas, an Islamist Palestinian movement, whereas al-Qeeq is protesting his six-month detention without trial, Xinhua reported.

Al-Qeeq was recently transferred to the Ha’Emek Hospital in the northern city of Afula, as dozens of supporters called for his immediate release.

“We condemn the ongoing draconian policy of arrests without trials, which are in contradiction with the fundamental principles of justice,” said Yussef Jabarin, a member of parliament with the Arab-Jew Joint List faction.

“Al-Qeek is emaciated and can hardly stand due to his legs’ atrophied muscles. He suffers from acidic vomiting several times a day, and his hearing and eyesight are impaired,” Physicians for Human Rights, an Israeli rights group, said.

In addition, Al-Qeek also lost consciousness several times over the past few days, said the group.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said the hospital is closely monitoring Al-Qeek’s condition, but she said no more comments are forthcoming regarding his medical condition.

Al-Qeeq is a correspondent for the Saudi al-Majd TV network and resides in the West Bank village of Dura, near Hebron.

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