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(WASHINGTON DC 01/25/2016) – The American Muslims for Palestine, a national education and advocacy organization, protests the administrative detention of Palestinian journalist Mohammad Al-Qiq and calls for his immediate release without conditions. Mr. Al-Qiq, 33, is near death in an Israeli prison hospital after more than 60 days on a hunger strike to protest his inhumane and illegal detention.
Israeli Occupation Forces arrested Mr. Al-Qiq from his home at 2 a.m. on Nov. 21, 2015, and subjected him to 25 days of brutal interrogation, during which he was shackled in stress positions, left outside overnight in extremely cold temperatures, and threatened with sexual assault, according to Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer.
The father of two began his hunger strike on Nov. 24 to protest the illegal and inhumane conditions under which he is detained. He spent several weeks in solitary confinement before he was transferred to a military hospital on Dec. 30, 2015, because of his deteriorating health. He is nearly blind, vomiting blood and, according to a source close to the family, has requested the presence of his lawyer to ensure the recitation of the Islamic declaration of faith, which is somewhat similar to the last rites administered on a death bed. While tied to his hospital bed, Israeli authorities have subjected Mr. Al-Qiq to the force feeding of salts and minerals, a practice in violation of international law and which the United Nations has said amounts to torture.
Currently, Israeli prison authorities are holding 6,800 Palestinians, mostly as political prisoners. Nearly 10 percent – 660 – are being held without charge or trial, a tactic called administrative detention, which violates the 78th Article of the Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949. At least 470 Palestinian children also are in Israeli detention, according to Addameer. Administrative detention, force feeding and brutal interrogation technics also violate the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, which prohibits the disbursement of American foreign aid to countries guilty of human rights abuses.
“While AMP condemns the detention of all Palestinian prisoners, the use of administrative detention is particularly egregious because it denies the person of all due process, something that flies in the face of democratic values,” said AMP Chairman Dr. Hatem Bazian.
AMP also roundly condemns the incarceration of Al-Qiq, a reporter for Al Majd TV, as a way to shut down reporting of Israel’s occupation and colonizing, apartheid policies that oppress Palestinians.
“A true democratic society would not silence journalists,” said AMP national policy director Dr. Osama Abuirshaid. “It is time we remove the veil of propaganda Israel tries to hide behind when it says it is the only democracy in the Middle East. Israeli policies show otherwise.”
AMP calls for the immediate release of Mr. Al-Qiq without conditions. We also call upon US Secretary of State John Kerry to bring all pressure to bear upon Israeli authorities for the safe treatment and release of Mr. Al-Qiq and all Palestinian political prisoners.