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IFJ Hits Out over Arrest and Detention of Journalists in Palestine

February 19, 2009

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today condemned the "unjustified" detention of journalists by the Palestinian Authority's Preventive Security Services.

The latest instance of media repression concerns the case of Isam Al Remawi, a cameraman with the Palestine News and Information Agency (WAFA) who was arrested on 26 January and released only on 10 February.

"We condemn these arbitrary arrests and detention of journalists. They are unjustified and have become routine in the West Bank," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Isam was arrested without any charges against him and a number of his colleagues remain in jail with no prospects of trial or even being charged. It's a shocking denial of justice."

According to reports, Isam was arrested last month at his office by the Preventive Security Services who interrogated him for five days and kept in detention for nine more days before releasing him.

The IFJ learned that Isam was beaten and manhandled during his interrogation by officials who questioned him about his work and to whom he is supplying photographs.

Palestinians journalists, says the IFJ, are increasingly victims of the standoff between the Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank and the Hamas government in control of the Gaza Strip.

Following the International Mission to Gaza last month, the IFJ and the Federation of Arab Journalists (FAJ) agreed to support new work to promote unity of journalists in Palestine.

The IFJ supports the call by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PSJ), IFJ affiliate, for the release of all detained journalists in Palestine.

"The Palestinian Authority must put an end to this harassment of journalists with immediate effect," added White. "All journalists who remain in detention must be released unconditionally."

Six journalists are believed to be in the Palestinian Authority's custody. They are Samer Khawireh, Ahmed Bikawi, Tarek Shihab, Iyad Srour, Farid Hammad and Bassam al-Sayeh.

For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: +32 2 235 2207

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