Abbas Asks Kerry’s Help to Free Palestinian Hunger Striker

YERUSHALAYIM -

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has asked Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene with Israel to free a Palestinian hunger striker from prison.

The request for the release of Mohamed al-Qiq, on strike for almost three months, was made at a meeting in Amman on Sunday, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Last Wednesday, the Israeli High Court turned down a petition for al-Qiq. The judges said they had reviewed classified evidence that he was “unmistakably an active Hamas agent involved in operational terrorism.”

The Court said it would not allow his release from administrative detention, despite his weakened state. Qiq has consistently refused any food, as well as the medical treatment offered him by the Israeli authorities.

Qiq has become an international cause. The United Nations, EU and rights groups have expressed concern about him.

On Thursday, U.N. envoy on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking Nickolay Mladenov briefed the U.N. Security Council. “I … call for all persons subject to administrative detention to be either charged or released immediately,” he said.

The court’s ruling affirms the state’s steadfast policy that detention without trial is necessary to prevent further violence in cases where there is insufficient evidence to prosecute, or where going to court would risk exposing the identity of secret informants.