The prosecution for Israel’s military court refused an appeal on behalf of the family of imprisoned Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq to allow them to visit him at an Israeli hospital as al-Qiq’s hunger strike reached 90 days.
Iyad Misk, a lawyer for the Palestinian Authority’s Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, said the Israeli prosecution claimed that al-Qiq’s wife and brothers were “dangerous to Israeli security.”
Therefore, it said, al-Qiq’s relatives would not be granted permits to leave the occupied West Bank and enter Israel to see the hunger-striking journalist at the HaEmek hospital in Afula, where he has been detained for weeks since his health dramatically deteriorated.
The decision comes after the Israeli High Court had ruled on Feb. 2 in favor of letting al-Qiq’s family visit him. The director of HaEmek hospital also supported and recommended allowing family visits.
Another lawyer for the Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, Hanan al-Khatib, said last week that he had started “shouting loudly, and screaming: ‘Let me hear my son’s voice, please God,’” from his hospital bed.
The office of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah issued a statement on Monday condemning al-Qiq’s continued detention after 90 days on hunger strike.
“Al-Qiq’s arrest and subsequent detention without trial only highlight Israel’s draconian measures against Palestinians,” Jamal Dajani, director of Strategic Communications and Media for the Prime Minister’s office, said.
“Both Prime Minister Hamdallah and President Abbas have made it one of their top priorities to secure the release of al-Qiq along with the many Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails.”
The 33-year-old father of two went on hunger strike in late November to protest his administrative detention — internment without trial or charge.
Israel has negotiated in cases of hunger strikes launched by Palestinian prisoners in the past out of fear that prisoners’ death could spark unrest in the occupied Palestinian territory, but the territory has already seen months of unrest.
Palestinian Prisoners’ Society head Qadura Fares said earlier this month that the Israeli security establishment now believes it has “nothing to lose” by failing to release al-Qiq before his death.
Al-Qiq has vowed to maintain his strike until transferred a Palestinian hospital in Ramallah and released from Israeli custody, requests that were most recently denied by Israel’s High Court of Justice last week.
Prominent Israeli rights group B’Tselem referred to the ruling as a “new low in the instrumentalist approach to human beings.”