Jailed Palestinian hunger striker loses ability to speak

Palestinian prisoner loses ability to speak after two-month-long of hunger strike in Israeli jail

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

The wife of imprisoned Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq, Fayha Shalash (L), with her son Islam, addresses a press conference on her husband's health situation on January 31, 2016 in Ramallah

A Palestinian detainee in Israeli jail, Mohammed al Qiq, has lost his ability to speak and most of his hearing, after going on hunger strike for over two months, his lawyer and family said on Sunday.

Mohammed al Qiq "lost his ability to speak and 60 percent of his hearing," his lawyer Jawad Boulus said in a statement, adding his condition is critical.

Boulus visited Qiq on Sunday at the Emek Medical Centre in the northern Israeli city of Afula, where he is being treated.

Qiq’s wife Faihaa spoke at a press conference, she said that the doctors had told her family that her husband could no longer speak.

"What are they waiting for in order to release my husband or look into his arrest?" she asked, and answered: "Until he suffers a brain haemorrhage or becomes a martyr."

On January 27, the journalist had appealed his internment, but Israel's Supreme Court refused to order his release.

Mohammed al Qiq is a correspondent of Saudi Arabia’s Almajd TV network. He was arrested on November 21, at his home in the occupied West Bank.

Qiq is held under Israel’s controversial administrative detention law, which allows the government to hold suspects for renewable six-month periods without any trial.

He has been refusing food since November 25 in protest against the "torture and ill treatment that he was subjected to during interrogation," according to Addameer, a Palestinian rights organisation.

Qiq was jailed for a month in 2003 and then for 13-months in 2004 for Hamas-related activities.

In 2008, he was sentenced to 16-months on charges linked to his activities on the student council at the West Bank's Birzeit University.

Qiq is 33 years old, and has two children.