BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Prominent Palestinian former hunger striker Muhammad al-Qiq began a new hunger strike on Monday to denounce his latest detention by Israel.
Palestinian outlet Quds News Agency quoted relatives of al-Qiq as saying that the 34-year-old journalist had started an open-ended hunger strike on Monday to protest being sentenced to six months in administrative detention — Israel’s controversial practice of detention without trial or charges.
Al-Qiq, who lives in Ramallah and is originally from Dura in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, was released from prison in May last year after have gone without food for a grueling 94 days — also to protest his administrative detention at the time.
However, al-Qiq was redetained in mid-January after he participated in a protest in the West Bank city of Bethlehem demanding the release of bodies of slain Palestinians held in Israeli custody.
According to Palestinian prisoner solidarity network Samidoun, Israeli authorities had not garnered confessions or issued charges against al-Qiq as of late January, although they had earlier expressed that they were investigating him for alleged “incitement” on social media, amid a crackdown on freedom of expression among Palestinian activists and journalists.
Al-Qiq’s previous imprisonment by Israel — widely condemned by the United Nations, Amnesty International, and other rights groups — and subsequent hunger strike cast a spotlight on Israel’s use of administrative detention, its arbitrary imprisonment of Palestinians, and the concerted targeting of Palestinian journalists.
Al-Qiq was one of a number of prominent Palestinian hunger strikers in 2016, who included the Balboul brothers who went without food for 77 and 79 days, Malik al-Qadi for 68 days, Bilal Kayid for 71 days.