Following the Bar Human Rights Committee’s recent statement on the case of Mohamed al-Qiq, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK Government has issued a formal response.
Mohamed al-Qiq is a Palestinian journalist who undertook a 94-day hunger strike in protest at his internment without trial under Israel’s administrative detention laws. These laws permit the arrest and detention of Palestinians based on secret evidence, for periods of up to six months, renewable indefinitely.
Mohamed ended his 94-day hunger strike on Friday 26 February 2016, following Israel’s decision to end his detention; he will not be released immediately but will remain in an Israeli medical centre in Afula until 21 May, where he will receive treatment.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s response reads as follows:
“On 26 February, Mr. al-Qiq stopped his hunger strike after an agreement was made with the Israeli authorities.
Our Embassy in Tel Aviv has followed the case of Mr al-Qiq and those of the other hunger strikers closely, and raised Mr al-Qiq’s case with the Israeli authorities on 24 February. Our Consulate General in Jerusalem also receives updates on the condition of the hunger strikers from Palestinian officials.
We remain concerned about Israel’s extensive use of administrative detention. Administrative detention should, according to international law, be used only when security makes it absolutely necessary rather than as routine practice, and as a preventative rather than a punitive measure. On 24 February an official from our Embassy in Tel Aviv raised the issue of administrative detention with the Deputy Head for Foreign Affairs at the Israeli National Security Council.
We also have concerns about mistreatment of Palestinian detainees and the high rate of convictions of those arrested under military law. We have raised these concerns with the Israeli authorities on many occasions, including at Foreign Minister, Attorney General and National Security Adviser levels.
I can assure you that the UK is firmly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and compliance with international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). We have a regular dialogue with the Government of Israel with regard to the implementation of their obligations under international law, and regularly and robustly raise our serious concerns on issues relating to Israeli actions in the OPTs.”