RAMALLAH, February 3, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli physicians at Afula hospital, where hunger striking Palestinian detainee in Israeli jails Mohammad al-Qiq is being hospitalized, have warned that he is showing serious warning signs of a stroke, given the rapid deterioration of his health after 70 consecutive days of hunger strike, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).
Ashraf Abu Sneneh, an attorney with PPS, said medical reports that were recently issued by Afula hospital pertaining to al-Qiq’s health status indicated that he has completely lost his ability to speak and over 60% of his hearing ability.
He said that the long-term hunger strike has caused damages to al-Qiqs internal organs, along various infections throughout his limbs, noting that he has lost 60 kilograms (132 pounds) and suffers from unbearable and excruciating around the clock pain.
Meanwhile, Minister Issa Qaraqe, chairman of the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission, said that al-Qiq’s body has turned into a skeleton of bones, adding that he has lost sight in one of his eyes.
In the meantime, director of legal affairs at the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission, Iyad Mesk, said that the Israeli central court in Nazareth is due on Wednesday to hear a petition on whether to remove the chains and shackles connecting al-Qiq’s hands and legs to his hospital bed.
To be noted, the Israeli Supreme court is set to hold a hearing on Thursday, to look into a petition submitted by al-Qiq’s lawyer to end his detention without charge or trial.
He said there was no justification for keeping al-Qiq’s worn out body handcuffed and shackled to his hospital bed, given the serious and rapid deterioration of his health.
Al-Qiq, 33, a journalist, began an open-ended hunger strike on November 25, 2015, refusing to take nutrients and undergo medical checkups, relaying on water only.
He has been detained without charge or trial on the basis of ‘secret evidence’ which has been withheld from him and his lawyers, thereby denying him the ability to exercise his right to challenge his detention.
Al-Qiq is one of many Palestinian detainees who resorted to hunger strike to protest their detention without charge or trial.
There are more than 500 Palestinian prisoners being held under administrative detention, a controversial Israeli practice that allows the detention of Palestinians without charge or trial for up to sex-month intervals that can be renewed indefinitely.
Israeli officials claim the practice is an essential tool in preventing attacks and protecting sensitive intelligence, but it has been strongly criticized by the international community as well as by both Israeli and Palestinian rights groups.
The Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, said international law stipulates that administrative detention may be exercised only in very exceptional cases. Nevertheless, Israeli authorities routinely employ administrative detention on thousands of Palestinians.
Israel uses administrative detention regularly as a form of collective punishment and mass detention of Palestinians, and frequently uses administrative detention when it fails to obtain confessions in interrogations of Palestinian detainees.
Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes as a way to protest their illegal administrative detention and to demand an end to this policy, which violates international law.