Israel frees Palestinian prisoner after hunger strike

AFP , Thursday 19 May 2016

Mohammed al-Qiq
Palestinian imprisoned journalist, Mohammed al-Qiq hugs flashes the sign of victory as he arrives in his village Dura, in southern West Bank after he was released from the Israeli Nafha Prison on May 19, 2016 (Photo: AFP)

Israel freed on Thursday a Palestinian journalist held without trial who went on hunger strike for more than three months, an AFP journalist said.

After his release from prison in southern Israel's Negev desert, Mohammed al-Qiq arrived with his family at his home village of Dura, near Hebron in the occupied West Bank, where he was met by well wishers.

"This victory proves that the occupation is fragile and its security equation is an imaginary one," he told journalists in Arabic.

"This victory today adds to the many victories of the Palestinian people that will go on, god willing, with greater resilience and consistency."

Qiq announced in February he was ending his hunger strike after authorities said they would not extend his detention under the administrative detention system, which allows Israel to hold prisoners without trial for renewable six-month periods.

The 34-year-old, who works for Saudi television channel Al-Majd, had fasted for 94 days in protest at his "torture and ill treatment that he was subjected to during interrogation", according to Addameer, a Palestinian rights organisation.

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

His case was widely covered, and the United Nations expressed concern about his condition.

Israel's Shin Bet domestic security service said he was detained for "terror activity" on behalf of the Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza, a charge he denied.

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