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

These violations have 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, a journalist for 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 January 28, 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 MADA’s lawyer. The court decided to detain him for 15 days, and he was still being held at the headquarters and prison of the Preventive Security Service, in the town of Bitunya, at the time of this report.

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 him to ongoing investigation and interrogation and detention for long hours, each time, as he was beaten and tortured, during which his head was placed in a plastic bag after being transferred to an interrogation room. He was additionally assaulted and beaten, with hands and whips, on his shoulders and thighs area after removing his winter jacket.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) strongly condemns this wave of arrests and violations, and reiterates 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, with special note to what the journalist al-Ghoul was subjected to, during his detention.

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