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“MADA” Demands the Immediate Release of the Detained Journalists in the Gaza Strip

Ramallah (20/07/2020) – The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” expresses its great concern about the continuous attacks against journalists and media institutions in the Gaza Strip, and condemns the continued detention of two journalists in connection with the publication of a video that spread on social media of a girl accused of forging her high school diploma.

Yesterday, corresponding to 19/07/2020, the Public Prosecution in the Gaza Strip extended the arrest for 48 hours of journalists Muthanna Al-Najjar (36 years old), who works as a correspondent for Al-Quds Radio and Al-Hadath Newspaper, and journalist Tariq Abu Ishaq (35 years) who works at For Media news page and several other sites.

The security services in the Sharkia Center in the city of Khan Yunis had summoned Al-Najjar and Abu Ishaq and detained them on Thursday 16/07 for a period of seven hours after a complaint lodged by the Ministry of Education against them, claiming that a video of the girl Iman Al-Najjar was published on social media sites - without consulting the ministry - which carried out by accusing the girl of forging her high school diploma, according to the ministry. After that, the journalists were summoned on Thursday and released on bail of NIS 1,000, to return on Sunday to complete the investigation.

Mohannad Al-Najjar Shaqeeq, the brother of journalist Muthanna Al-Najjar, explained that his brother and Abu Ishaq had declared their hunger strike, as they went on Sunday to the Eastern Prosecutor’s Office after they were asked to come to complete the investigation, but no charges were brought against them, they were not investigated at all, and the Prosecution decided to return them to detention and extend their arrest for 48 hours, according to the legal advisor of MADA Center, despite the intervention of press body to release them and close the file.

MADA Center condemns the continued detention of journalists and grave attacks on media freedoms, the last of which is preventing the internal Gaza channels of Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath from operating. MADA also calls on the security services of Hamas government in Gaza to release the journalists immediately, and to stop all acts of persecution targeting journalists and media freedoms in the Gaza Strip.