Escalating arrests, detentions target Palestinian journalists

Amir Abu Araam and Alaa al-Titi

An Israeli occupation military court extended the detention of two Palestinian journalists, Amir Abu Araam and Alaa al-Titi, until Tuesday, 10 October, accusing them of “incitement.” Both are correspondents for Al-Aqsa TV. The two were seized when occupation forces invaded their homes in pre-dawn raids on Monday, 2 October, ransacking their belongings and terrorizing their families.

Three days before, al-Titi and his colleague Mustafa al-Khawaja had been sentenced to a fine of 3,000 NIS ($800 USD) and a suspended sentence of eight months over a three-year period if they return to work for Al-Aqsa TV, in a case that began in 2015; the two had been imprisoned and released as the military court hearings dragged on over years.  Al-Titi has been repeatedly detained on political grounds by the Israeli occupation and also the Palestinian Authority security forces.

Raghid Tabisia

Meawhile, fellow journalist, freelancer and Quds News Network correspondent Ragheed Tabisia, 24, from Qalqilya, had his detention extended once again by an Israeli occupation military court. Tabisia was seized by occupation forces in a pre-dawn raid on his home on 24 September; he has been held in the Jalameh interrogation center since that time.

Palestinian journalist Mohammed Awad, seized on 29 September, was ordered on 3 October to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. There are now approximately 30 Palestinian journalists in Israeli occupation prisons and the recent slew of arrests in the past several weeks has highlighted an escalation in attacks on Palestinian journalists. Awad had previously been jailed for 10 months in 2013 and works for Wattan TV.

The Radio and Television Federation in Palestine said that “the number of detainees in Israeli jails is increasing amid the intensification of arrest campaigns against journalists by the occupation authorities…the Israeli occupation deliberately postpones the trials of journalists under flimsy pretexts and subjects journalists to administrative detention without charge.”

On 4 October, the Committee to Support Journalists emphasized that Palestinian journalists face increased danger to their lives and freedoms, marking 53 violations to journalists’ rights in Palestine in September 2017, 48 carried out by the Israeli occupation.

During September, 11 journalists were arrested and held, detained and released or summoned to interrogation by the Israeli occupation, including Tabisia, Awad and his brother Abdel-Rahman Awad; Kayed Hassanein, Hazem Badr, Issam Rimawi and Talal Abu Rahma – all detained – and filmmaker Mohammed Bakri and journalists Ahmed Jalajel and Daoud Afaneh, all summoned to interrogtion.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network denounces the ongoing attacks on Palestinian journalists and urges broader international solidarity with imprisoned Palestinian journalists to demand their freedom and an end to the institutionalized Israeli occupation repression that seeks to silence their voices.