Middle East

Palestinian Mohammed al-Qiq ending marathon hunger strike

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mohammed al-Qiq had refused to eat food since November

A Palestinian on hunger strike for more than three months in protest at his detention without charge by Israel has agreed to end his fast.

Mohammed al-Qiq will be freed in a deal which will see him released on 21 May, Palestinian officials said.

Israel said he would stay in custody until then, when it would review the case and possibly extend his detention.

It says Mr al-Qiq, 33, is involved in militancy linked to the Islamist group, Hamas. He denies the allegation.

Mr al-Qiq, a journalist who works for a Saudi TV channel, is said to be gravely ill after living almost entirely on only water since his protest began.

His imprisonment under the controversial system of administrative detention, and his deteriorating health, drew protests from rights groups who called for his release.

Earlier this month, Israel's Supreme Court said Mr al-Qiq was "clearly a Hamas activist involved in militant terrorism" but suspended his detention order.

The court rejected his request to be transferred from Afula in Israel to Ramallah in the West Bank for treatment.

Administrative detention allows suspects to be held without charge for six-month intervals and can be renewed by a judge indefinitely.

Israel says the measure is necessary for security, but civil liberty groups say the practice is a violation of human rights.

There are currently 600 Palestinians held in administrative detention, according to the Israeli Prison Service.