Reporters Without Borders: “Palestinian Journalists at the Mercy of Arbitrary Israeli Justice”
Last Week, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) published an article denouncing the recent sentencing of Palestinian journalist Suhaib Al-Assa to four month’s imprisonment and a fine of 3,000 Shekels (about 600 Euros). According to the Ma’an News Agency, the journalist’s home was raided by Israeli troops where he had his personal computer and cell phone seized before being taken directly to Ashkelon prison. RWB reported that the Israeli justice refuses to disclose the terms of the indictment and any evidence against Suhaib Al-Assa.
RWB published the report in order to draw attention to Palestinian Prisoners’ day, a day that wishes to draw attention to the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held in arbitrarily detention in Israeli prisons. According to RWB, disregarding the most basic rights, administrative detention is regularly used to detain Palestinian journalists arbitrarily. The law allows for the renewal of the detention every six months. Detained Palestinian journalists are then subject to a trial in a military court. Over 320 Palestinians, among them journalists, are currently held in administrative detention.
RWB calls on Israel authorities to try those detained before civilian courts, in accordance with their right to equal defense, and for the release if they are held on invalid grounds. Notable Palestinian journalists include Walid Khaled, editor of the newspaper Filisteen, Raed Sharif, a journalist working out of Hebron, Nawaf Al-Amer, programmed director for television station Al-Quds, Amin Abd Al-Aziz Abu Warda, a reporter for the Palestinian News Network, Amar Abd Al-Halim Abu Urfa, a reporter for Shehab News Agency, and Hamza Slimane Barnat, a photographer.