Mohammed Al-Qeeq, a Palestinian activist and journalist, has been released from prison by Israel. After a 94-day hunger strike in protest against his treatment by Israeli authorities, a deal was reached in February securing his release.
Al-Qeeq, 33 worked as a news reporter for the Saudi-owned TV network, Al Majd. He was held in Israeli detention, without trial since November 2015. Only four days later, he began his hunger strike.
Initially this form of activism was to protest the torture and ill-treatment he faced in Israeli custody, but soon developed into a demonstration against Israel’s internationally condemned policy of administrative detention.
His demand was that the Israeli military either charge or release him from the military detention center where he was being held.
“They [Palestinian journalists] are now experiencing forceful and abusive detention because they have been the voice of human conscience, exposing crimes and oppressive practices of Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people,” Al-Qeeq said in a statement in late January.
“When people are treated tyrannically, they are no longer worried about the consequences even if the toll is life. Thus, I entrusted myself in God’s hands and I will continue with this hunger strike, until martyrdom or freedom,” Al-Qeeq said in the statement.
— Al Jazeera News (@AJENews) May 20, 2016
Israel had accused Al-Qeeq of inciting violence and having links to Hamas, the Palestinian faction which rules the Gaza Strip.
Until his release on Thursday, he was one of 750 Palestinians – including five journalists – being held in Israeli prisons under administrative detention. This controversial policy permits Palestinians to be held for renewable six-month periods without charge or trial, for an indefinite period.
Currently, there are at least 70 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons on hunger strike.
(PC, AL JAZEERA, MA’AN)