Dozens of Palestinian journalists protested on Sunday for the release of Omar Nazzal, Palestinian journalist and member of the General Secretariat of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, arrested by Israeli occupation forces on Saturday, 23 March as he traveled to the General Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists.
The EFJ meeting in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is being attended by a delegation of the PJS, which was to include Nazzal as well as PJS chair Nasser Abu Baker. Nazzal and his colleagues were questioned for over four hours at the Al-Karameh crossing between occupied Palestine and Jordan before he was seized by occupation forces and taken to the Etzion interrogation center.
The EFJ issued a statement about the arrest of Nazzal. “The EFJ strongly call on Israeli authorities to release immediately Omar Nazzal,” said the EFJ President, Mogens Blicher Bjerregård. “We also express our solidarity to Palestinian journalists who will gather in Ramallah on Sunday at the International Committee of the Red Cross to demand the release of Omar Nazzal.”
The EFJ and the PJS are affiliates of the International Federation of Journalists, whose president, Jim Boumelha said, “It was shocking to hear that a participant to a congress for journalists from all over Europe has been arrested by the Israeli authorities on his way to attend and banged in Etzion prison without any reason being given…The 100 delegates representing over 320,000 journalists in 51 unions from all over Europe will be demanding that their colleague is released forthwith.”
Mahmoud Hassan, Palestinian lawyer with Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, submitted an urgent appeal for Nazzal’s release. “Prosecutors and police were given until 9:00 am tomorrow to respond to the request,” said Addameer; there will be a hearing on Monday morning at Ofer Military Court. Earlier, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society reported that the Israeli military sought to extend Nazzal’s detention until 27 April.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Studies Center, and the Palestinian Ministry of Information joined various Palestinian political parties and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate in denouncing Nazzal’s arrest.