Friday, May 31, 2013

Middle East: Motives behind arrests of five activists in Palestine unclear


Arabic Network for Human Rights Information

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounces the continued targeting of journalists and media professionals in Palestine, whether the violations are being committed by the local authorities or the Israeli occupational forces.

The Preventive Security Forces in Palestine arrested, on 21 May 2013 at dawn, five young people from the Popular Palestininian Party in Tulkarem one of whom is Saleem El Salman, a correspondent for the "All People" radio show. The arrestees houses were surrounded and they were taken away without clear reasons or charges.

On 22 May, Israeli security forces arrested Palestinian artist Reem Bana near the Jordan river crossing as she was returning from Oman where she participated in a forum on media freedoms. She was released on the same day and no reasons were given for her arrest. After pressing the security officers for a reason, she was notified that she is suspected of committing violations against state security and that she will be summoned for another investigation.

The Palestinian territories have recently been subjected to a campaign of harassment, prosecutions, and arrests against journalists, media professionals and intellectuals. Violations have been committed both by the Israeli forces and the Palestinian authorities. Some of the journalists that have experienced violations included Mohammed Bsharat, Haroun Abuarah, Omar Abuarkoub and political analyst Ibrahim Abrash.

ANHRI has renewed its demand for the Palestinian authorities to respect freedom of expression and to provide journalists and media-professionals with a safe climate to work in without fear of legal prosecution."