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MADA welcomes the release of journalist "AWAWDA" and calls for stopping the policy of arresting journalists

Ramallah – 17th July 2023 - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) welcomes the release of journalist OQAIL AWAWDA yesterday, Sunday, from Ramallah Magistrate Court, after he was arrested from his workplace five days ago and transferred to the Preventive Security Service headquarters in “Betunia”.

The journalist "AWAWDA" was arrested against the background of his critical posts on social media, the latest of which was a video clip he published on Thursday before he was arrested on the same day, in which he refutes what the spokesman for the security services stated about the absence of political arrests.

According to MADA lawyer FIRAS KARAJEH, the journalist was transferred to the Ramallah Magistrate Court to request a 15-day extension to complete the investigation procedures. His detention was extended by the Public Prosecution in Ramallah on Friday for 48 hours, and the Prosecution also demanded an extension for 15 days on Sunday on charges of "publishing information that incites racial strife and slandering the Authority” as mentioned in the investigation file. However, the Court denied the request to extend the detention and decided to release the journalist on a bail of 3,000 Jordanian dinars.

In a related context, Nablus Magistrate Court had released journalist AHMED AL-BITAWI after a seven-day detention on the 12th July, on charges of "insulting the public authorities" as mentioned in the investigation file.

MADA welcomes the Court’s decision to release the journalist AWAWDA and before him the release of the journalist “AL-BITAWI”. It further renews its call not to arrest journalists on the grounds of freedom of opinion and expression and also calls for stopping this policy once and for all as it is an explicit violation of the Palestinian Basic Law not to mention a violation of the international laws and charters that the State of Palestine has acceded.