The 35-year-old journalist’s health sharply deteriorated last week and he was transferred to a prison clinic on 22 February. Al-Qiq is showing signs that he may suffer vision loss, according to his lawyer.
Israeli prison authorities have started pressuring al-Qiq to undergo medical checks, which he has refused as part of his protest, the lawyer told media.
An Israeli military court judge upheld the three-month administrative detention order against al-Qiq, a reporter for the Saudi news agency al-Majd, on Tuesday.
“Today’s decision to approve the administrative detention of Muhammed al-Qiq is an affront to justice. Israel’s administrative detention which is predominately used to detain Palestinians without charge or trial is arbitrary and abusive,” Amnesty International stated that same day.
Reporter freed, more detained
The deterioration of his health came as another Palestinian journalist, Omar Nazzal, was released after Israel detained him for 10 months without charge or trial.
Nazzal, freed on 20 February, was held under an administrative detention order issued by a military court. The order was renewed three times since his arrest last April while he was attempting to leave the occupied West Bank to attend a journalism convention in Bosnia.
Over a dozen more Palestinian journalists and media workers remain behind Israeli bars. Some are being held without charge or trial, like al-Qiq, and others have been hit with incitement charges related to their work.
Four journalists with the al-Sanabel radio station in Dura, near the West Bank city of Hebron, arrested in an Israeli military raid last August are among those facing incitement charges.
The Israeli military accuses the radio station of broadcasting songs like “Dura the Mighty” and calling for “harming” Israeli soldiers on air and on its Facebook page.
The military’s indictment states that Nidal Amro, one of the accused journalists, reported the location of Israeli soldiers during a live broadcast during an army operation that took place about a week after the siege.
Another al-Sanabel journalist, Muntasir Nassar, is alleged to have aired a tribute to Muhammad al-Faqih the day after the wanted Palestinian man was crushed to death by Israeli forces who were attempting to arrest him.
“God have mercy on your soul and may God help you to be accepted to the eternal heaven, oh hero,” the indictment quotes Nassar as saying on air.
Journalists held without charge
Safadi was arrested last May while he was returning from a conference in Tunisia.
A resident of Jerusalem, Safadi was taken to a detention center in the city where he was interrogated for 40 days and subjected to sleep deprivation, stress positions and poor nourishment.
A Jerusalem court ordered his release in June, but Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman signed an administrative detention order against Safadi the day he was due to be released.
In December, Safadi was handed down another six-month detention order.
Osama Shaheen, a reporter and head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies, is being held under administrative detention. Shaheen was summoned for interrogation by Palestinian intelligence before his arrest by Israel on 1 September.
Last month, journalist Hamam Hantash was also ordered held under under administrative detention.
Earlier this month, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), a group that monitors press freedom in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, released its annual report on press violations for 2016.
Fewer press violations were committed by Israel last year than in 2015, which saw a surge in abuses as a result of increased confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the West Bank.
Despite the decline, the monitoring group stated that Israel continues to shut down media outlets, imprison journalists and pressure social media companies to restrict political speech.
Noam Rotem contributed research.