January 28, 2016 – HaEmek Hospital, where hunger striker Muhammad al-Qeeq has been hospitalized for about a month, has prevented yesterday the entrance of a volunteer physician from Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHRI).On January 11, at the request of al-Qeeq and his family, the organization had made an urgent request to the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to allow an independent physician to visit him immediately.

This request was submitted to the IPS following the hospital management claim that it had no authority to approve or reject such a request.

After the visit was approved and coordinated by the IPS for January 27th, the hospital told PHRI it would not allow the visit, arguing that it did not have a suitable doctor who was available to accompany the visit at the scheduled time.

It made this claim even though the presence of a doctor on behalf of the hospital not only is not required – it contradicts the duty to maintain the patient’s privacy.

International ethical codes emphasize the importance of a medical examination by an independent doctor to create a trusting relationship with the hunger striker in an attempt to reach a life-saving solution.

As Al-Qeeq is now in the 65th day of his hunger strike, this delay can be critical.

According to the Patient’s Rights Act, the hospital is required to help the patient do everything necessary to realize his right to be visited by a physician.

PHRI condemns the HaEmek Hospital’s decision, which reflects the inappropriate conduct that was described by Al-Qeeq until now: the forced treatment and the pressure to end his hunger strike.

In another development, the High Court ruled yesterday that it would not intervene to release Al-Qeeq from administrative detention.

PHRI reiterates its call for his immediate release.

For further information, please contact:
Andrea Barsony
International Advocacy Coordinator
Physicians for Human Rights – Israel
052 742 45 14 / andrea@phr.org.il