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MADA condemns a wave of arrests and detentions of journalists in the West Bank and Gaza

Ramallah - (30/1/2019) The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns the wave of arrests and detentions carried out by the Palestinian security services in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since the beginning of 2019.

 

These violations affected nine journalists, (as well as a number of other journalists who have been exposed to the same violations in late last month in Gaza). They are: from the West Bank, Yousef al-Faqih, Mahmoud Harish who was detained for 22 days and released two days ago, Zaid Abu 'Ara, the media student at Birzeit University Hamzah Mahmoud Khader, Hazem Nasser, Metasim Sakf Al-Hait, Amir Estate and Faisal Rifai, whose freedoms were held for hours. And from Gaza, Louay al-Ghoul, who was summoned and detained three consecutive times for long hours by the Internal Security, during which he was tortured and beaten.

 

The Preventive Security Service, for example, arrested Yusuf Mohammed al-Faqih the journalist in “Manbar al-Horiah” a local radio station in Hebron, and working also in “Quds Press” news agency, after raiding his home in “al-Burj” village near Dura city in Hebron, on charges of "inciting sectarian strife" according to his father.

 

On 28/1/2019, Yusuf al-Faqih was transferred from Dura's Prosecution to Ramallah Prosecution without an investigation. A request was submitted to the Ramallah Magistrate's Court to extend his detention for 15 days, despite a submission of pleading by the MADA’s lawyer, the court decided to detain him for 15 days, and he is still being held at the headquarters and prison of the Preventive Security Service in the town of Bitunya.

 

The situation in the Gaza Strip was not different. Within a wave of summonses and long-term detentions of a number of journalists, the internal security service of Hamas for example summoned the journalist Louay al-Ghoul three times on 6, 7 and 8 January, and subjected to ongoing investigation and interrogation and detention for long hours each time as he was beaten and tortured during that, where his head was placed in a plastic bag after being transferred to an interrogation room, and he was assaulted and beaten with hands and whips on his shoulders and thighs area after removing the winter jacket.

 

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) strongly condemns this wave of arrests and violations. And reiterate its call to the competent authorities to work to stop all these violations, release all the journalists detained by the security forces, and investigate the incidents of abuse especially what the journalist al-Ghoul was subjected to during his detention.