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Palestinian journalist reaches deal to end 94-day hunger strike

Israeli authorities promise to shorten Muhammad al-Qiq’s administrative detention order, not renew it.

Hunger striking Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq at Emek Medical Center in Afula, Israel, February 8, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Hunger striking Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq at Emek Medical Center in Afula, Israel, February 8, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian hunger striker Muhammad al-Qiq ended a 94-day hunger strike on Friday after his lawyers struck a deal with Israeli authorities.

Al-Qiq, who has been in administrative detention since mid-December, will not be transferred to Al-Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem, as he had initially requested, but will remain in Israel’s Emek Medical Center. However, his administrative detention order will not be renewed, with his lawyers managing to push the date of his release from June 21 to May 21.

Al-Qiq, 33, from the West Bank village of Dura near Hebron, worked as a reporter for the Saudi news channel “Almajd.” He was arrested by the Israeli army from his home on the night of November 21, 2015. He was not allowed to make contact with either his wife or his attorney for many days after his arrest.

The Shin Bet claims al-Qiq is a member of Hamas who was previously jailed several times due to his activities in the organization. His current detention, according to the Shin Bet, came following “founded suspicions of involvement in terror activities with Hamas.” Since his arrest, al-Qiq has not once been formally charged with committing a crime.

WATCH: Muhammad al-Qiq at Haemek hospital in northern Israel

According to reports in the Palestinian media over the weekend, negotiations to end al-Qiq’s hunger strike were accelerated in recent days due to his deteriorating medical condition. As his hunger strike wore on, Al-Qiq began suffering from serious vertigo, had lost most of his sight and hearing, and could barely speak.

Israel’s High Court of Justice “suspended” Al-Qiq’s administrative detention on February 4. The court did not, however, allow his release, refusing to cancel his administrative detention order despite his serious medical condition.

Israel is currently imprisoning without charge or trial hundreds of Palestinians and at least one Jewish Israeli. The authority to issue administrative detention orders is drawn from pre-state colonial laws that are only valid as long as Israel is officially in a state of emergency, which it has been continuously since its establishment in 1948.

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