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Israel frees Palestinian who spent months on hunger strike

Mohammed al-Qiq, accused of working for Hamas, fasted for 94 days to protest his administrative detention

Palestinian imprisoned journalist, Mohammed al-Qiq hugs flashes the sign of victory as he arrives in his village Dura, in southern West Bank after he was released from the Israeli Nafha Prison on May 19, 2016. (AFP/ HAZEM BADER)
Palestinian imprisoned journalist, Mohammed al-Qiq hugs flashes the sign of victory as he arrives in his village Dura, in southern West Bank after he was released from the Israeli Nafha Prison on May 19, 2016. (AFP/ HAZEM BADER)

A Palestinian man held in Israeli prison without charge, who fasted for 94 days in protest of his detention earlier this year, was released on Thursday.

Mohammed al-Qiq launched his hunger strike on November 25, 2015, to win release from detention. In February, Israeli authorities agreed to let him go on May 21 if he would agree to end his hunger strike.

The Shin Bet security service said he was detained for “terror activity” on behalf of the Hamas terror group that controls Gaza, a charge he denied.

After his release from prison in the Negev desert, al-Qiq arrived with his family at his home village of Dura, near Hebron in the West Bank, where he was met by well wishers.

“This victory proves that the occupation is fragile and its security equation is an imaginary one,” he told journalists in Arabic.

“This victory today adds to the many victories of the Palestinian people that will go on, god willing, with greater resilience and consistency.”

Palestinian hunger striker Mohammed al-Qiq with Joint (Arab) List MK Osama Sa'adi at the Emek Medical Center in Afula, on February 26, 2016. (Courtesy Joint List)
Palestinian hunger striker Mohammed al-Qiq with Joint (Arab) List MK Osama Sa’adi at the Emek Medical Center in Afula, on February 26, 2016. (Courtesy Joint List)

Qiq announced in February he was ending his hunger strike after authorities said they would not extend his detention under the administrative detention system, which allows Israel to hold prisoners suspected of terrorist activity without trial for renewable six-month periods.

The 34-year-old, who works for Saudi television channel Al-Majd, had fasted for 94 days in protest at his alleged “torture and ill treatment that he was subjected to during interrogation,” according to Addameer, a Palestinian rights organization.

He occasionally took minerals and vitamins but mainly ingested only tap water.

His case was widely covered, and the United Nations expressed concern about his condition.

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