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Israel rearrests freed Palestinian hunger striker

By AFP - Jan 17,2017 - Last updated at Jan 17,2017

This file photo taken on May 19, 2016 shows Palestinian journalist Mohammed Al Qiq, who was held by Israel without trial and went on hunger strike for more than three months, flashing the ‘V’ for victory sign as he arrives in the village of Dura near Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, following his release from the Israeli Nafha Prison on May 19, 2016 (AFP photo)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israeli forces have rearrested a Palestinian journalist who was freed from prison last year after an extended hunger strike, his family and Israeli officials said Tuesday.

Mohammed Al Qiq was detained Sunday night at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah on his way back from a demonstration against Israel’s refusal to return the bodies of slain Palestinians, his wife Fayha Shalash told AFP.

According to Shalash, Qiq’s lawyer told her he was being held in Ofer prison, west of Ramallah, and “has been on hunger strike since the moment they arrested him”.

 In May, 34-year-old Qiq was released from a six-month prison term without trial following a 94-day hunger strike.

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

Qiq had been held under the administrative detention system, which allows Israel to hold prisoners without trial for renewable six-month periods.

Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security service said at the time he was detained for “terror activity” on behalf of the Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza.

Qiq denied the allegation, saying he worked for the Saudi television channel Al Majd.

Qiq’s case was widely covered, and the United Nations expressed concern about his condition during his previous time in prison.

Shin Bet said Qiq had been detained on Sunday night along with 12 other men, including a member of the Palestinian parliament, as part of a network of Hamas operatives.

Shin Bet said the men were accused of a series of “economic and social” activities, including organising demonstrations and financially supporting families of prisoners, to “strengthen Hamas influence in the West Bank while attempting to topple the [Palestinian] Authority”.

 The Palestinian Prisoners Club said Israeli forces had arrested 20 people, 15 of them former prisoners.


A spokesman for the Israel Prison Authority said Qiq was in its custody since Monday but denied he was on hunger strike.

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