JERUSALEM — A top UN official said yesterday he was "alarmed" by the condition of a Palestinian journalist on hunger strike over his detention without trial.
Robert Piper, United Nations coordinator for humanitarian assistance and development aid in the occupied Palestinian territories, raised concern for the fate of 33-year-old Mohammed al-Qiq, who the International Committee of the Red Cross say is in critical condition after 70 days refusing food.
"I am alarmed by the rapidly deteriorating health of Palestinian administrative detainee, Mohammed al-Qiq, who is on hunger strike in protest against the arbitrary nature of his detention and ill-treatment," a statement from Piper said.
Qiq, a 33-year-old father of two and a correspondent for Saudi Arabia's Almajd television network, was arrested on November 21 at his home in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
He has been refusing food since November 25 in protest his detention under Israel's disputed administrative detention law -- which allows the state to hold suspects for renewable six-month periods without trial.
Shin Bet, the Israeli domestic security service, says Qiq was arrested for "terror activity" as part of the Islamist group Hamas.
His family deny the claims and say he was only a journalist covering the West Bank.
Israel passed a controversial law in July last year allowing the force-feeding of prisoners in certain circumstances, but it remains unclear if it has been invoked. — AFP