Palestinian journalist Muhammed al-Qiq, held without charge or trial by Israel for nearly three months and on hunger strike since November 25, is at imminent risk of death. Despite the Israeli High Court of Justice reviewing his case, he remains effectively detained with no charge or trial. Al-Qiq initially launched his hunger strike to protest the torture or other ill-treatment to which he says he was subjected in Israeli custody, and to demand his release from detention he believes is motivated by his work as a journalist.
Israel has held him without charge or trial in a practice known as administrative detention. On February 4, Israel’s High Court of Justice decided to “suspend” his detention order given his precarious and deteriorating health. They did not, however, rule on the validity of holding al-Qiq without charge or trial.
To Amnesty International’s knowledge, the High Court has only ever annulled an administrative detention order in one case (in 1990), despite the fact that the practice violates the detainee’s right to a fair trial and can constitute arbitrary detention. Amnesty International also considers that Israel’s use of administrative detention itself may amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, given the detainee’s inability to know why they are being detained or when they will be released.