Palestinians hail victory of journalist in Israeli jail

Ramallah, Gaza, Feb 27 (IANS) Palestinians described the deal between Israeli authorities and a detained Palestinian journalist as a victory for him and the detainees in Israeli jails.

Eassa Qaraqe’, head of detainees’ affairs commission of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said Friday’s deal “is considered a victory for Mohamed al-Qiq and the Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails in the face of the unlawful Israeli administrative detention.”

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC) on Friday said a deal was reached to release al-Qiq who was on strike for 94 days, protesting his administrative detention by Israel.

PPC said the deal practically puts an end to al-Qiq’s battle against administrative detention, with an undertaking not to renew his administrative detention upon its end on May 21.

The statement said that in return, al-Qiq will continue his medical treatment in the Israeli hospital to which he was transferred, and to be taken back the Israeli prison facility (Nafha) till his detention period was over.

Al-Qiq’s family will be allowed to visit him in the hospital, under the new deal.

Qaraqe’ thanked “Palestinian people and all popular and legal institutions and national factions, and to all international organisations and the Palestinians living in Israel for the important roles in supporting al-Qiq’s rights and demands throughout his strike, and especially Knesset (Israeli Parliament) member Osama Sa’adi.”

Administrative detention is a measure that allows Israeli authorities to detain prisoners without charging them or allowing them to stand a trial based on secret information, which cannot be accessed by either the detainees or lawyers, for periods of six months that can be renewed for unlimited times.

Al-Qiq, 33, is a TV reporter and was arrested by Israel on November 21 and withheld under administrative detention without trial. He started an open hunger strike, drinking only water, since November 24.

The Israeli high court suspended the administrative detention order on February 4, allowing family visits and removing his shackles on the hospital bed, without releasing him, but he refused to end his strike.

On February 15, the Israeli high court suggested moving al-Qiq to an East Jerusalem hospital, which he rejected and continued his hunger strike.

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