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Palestinians demand release of hunger-striking journalist from Israeli jail

Palestinians gather outside an Israeli military prison in the occupied West Bank to protest the imprisonment of hunger-striking journalist Muhammad al-Qiq, January 18, 2016.

A group of Palestinians have gathered outside an Israeli prison in the occupied West Bank, demanding the release of a hunger-striking journalist who is in a critical health condition, Press TV reports.

The demonstrators, among them a parliamentarian, gathered in front of the Ofer prison on Sunday and called on Israel to release Muhammad al-Qiq, who was arrested in November 2015.

Holding banners and pictures of the journalist, the protesters attempted to approach the gate of the military jail. They also called for an end to Israel’s illegal measures against prisoners.

Secretary General of the Palestine National Initiative Mustafa Barghouti (seen below), who was among the protesters, said, “We challenge them; we stand in front of the prison and we sent a message to Muhammad al-Qiq and all his colleagues [that] we are with them.”

Israeli soldiers, however, used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the demonstrators.

Thirty three-year-old Qiq, with the Arabic-language Palestine al-Yawm news, went on a hunger strike on November 24, 2015 to protest his administrative detention.

Jawad Boulos, a lawyer with the rights group Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, said earlier that Israeli soldiers have handcuffed Qiq to a hospital bed, while his health condition is deteriorating.

According to Palestinian Minister for Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqe, the Ofer prison court ruled to maintain the six-month administrative detention period for al-Qiq despite the inmate’s worsening health condition. He also warned that Israel has tasked a team to force-feed the journalist in Afula hospital.

Sources close to al-Qiq said, Israeli forces tortured him during his interrogation, when he was subjected to beatings, sleep deprivation, exposure to cold, and other forms of abuse.

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