ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Palestinian prisoner ends hunger strike as Israel agrees to his release

Journalist and alleged Hamas activist Mohammed al-Qiq previously refrained from eating for 94 days to protest being held without charge

Mohammed al-Qiq, a Palestinian prisoner who carried out hunger strike, talks to a man in a hospital in the northern Israeli town of Afula on February 5, 2016. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)
Mohammed al-Qiq, a Palestinian prisoner who carried out hunger strike, talks to a man in a hospital in the northern Israeli town of Afula on February 5, 2016. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

An imprisoned Palestinian journalist ended a 32-day hunger strike on Friday after receiving assurances Israel would not extend his detention without trial next month, his wife and lawyer said.

It will be the second time within a year that 34-year-old Mohammed al-Qiq, who works for the Saudi television channel Al-Majd, has been released by Israel from so-called administrative detention following a prolonged hunger strike.

An Israeli military court said Thursday that Qiq’s detention would not be extended when it expired next month, his lawyer Khaled Zabarqa told AFP.

Qiq’s wife, Fayha Shalash, said that the journalist, hospitalized near Tel Aviv, has ended his hunger strike and called his release expected on April 14 a “judicial victory.”

Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner stressed to AFP that “there was no agreement” under which Qiq would stop his hunger strike in return for his release.

“He’ll be released as planned,” Lerner said of Qiq’s three-month sentence.

The Israel Prison Service confirmed to AFP that Qiq had stopped refusing food and would be released next month.

Photo taken on January 22, 2016, shows a Palestinian man carrying a placard bearing a portrait of Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq during a demonstration near Ramallah demanding his release from an Israeli jail. (Abbas Momani/AFP, File)
Photo taken on January 22, 2016, shows a Palestinian man carrying a placard bearing a portrait of Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq during a demonstration near Ramallah demanding his release from an Israeli jail. (Abbas Momani/AFP, File)

In May 2016, Qiq was released from a six-month prison term without trial following a 94-day hunger strike.

He was rearrested in January near the West Bank city of Ramallah for “terror activity” on behalf of the Islamist terror group Hamas, the Shin Bet domestic security service said at the time, a claim he denied.

He was also accused of undermining the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.

A military court in February ordered that he be imprisoned for six months, a sentence later reduced to three months.

The controversial Israeli administrative detention laws allow the state to hold suspects without trial for periods of six months, renewable indefinitely.

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