MADA: columnist Harb was interrogated today
Ramallah 10.31.2012 –columnist Jihad Harb was summoned today (10/31/2012) for interrogation by the Head of Public Prosecutions, on the backdrop of a complaint filed against him by the Chief of Staff of the Palestinian presidency, on charges of libel and slander, and direct insult to the employees in the Office of the President, through an article was written about two months ago.
The writer Jihad Harb, was interrogated in front of the chief prosecutor, who questioned him about the article that was published in a number of Palestinian news sites , and told him that he is accused of Libel and Slander according to the Jordanian Penal Code that in force in the Palestinian territories. MADA center lawyer, Mr Raed Abdel-Hamid, and a team of lawyers, jurists, and a representative of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, accompanied Harb during the interrogation.
The Head of the prosecution discovered during the investigation that there is no permission to interrogate Harb as he is working in the Palestinian Legislative Council – According the law the General Attorney should issue permission before trail any public employer. So he decided to ask the General Attorney to issue permission in this regard, and to keep Harb free, and to come to the public prosecution office at any time asked to do so, through MADA's lawyer who is defending him along with team of lawyers.
While Jihad Harb was interrogated, MADA center , number of journalists, human rights activists and representatives of civil institutions protested in front of the Public Prosecution Office in Ramallah in solidarity with Harb and to protest against prosecution of freedom of expression.
The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms "MADA" condemns the continued and widening prosecution of journalists and writers on the back of their opinions and writings. MADA demands an end to the prosecution of jihad Harb, and to the policy of prosecution against freedom of opinion and expression that guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law.
We express our concerns on the increasing number of complaints filled to the General Attorney this year that related to freedom of expression. This became a kind of indirect punishment to suppress freedom of expression through creating an atmosphere of fear among writers, journalists and citizens in general, this leads to enhance self-censorship and reduce freedoms and restrict them.