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PA arrests Palestinian journalists in the West Bank

Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in the Gaza Strip goes on strike in protest against the security officers' aggression towards their colleagues in occupied Ramallah, West Bank, 13 March 2017. [Images by Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]
Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) protest against ill treatment of their colleagues [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is carrying out an "unprecedented" and "illegal" campaign against Palestinian journalists in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian news website Arabs48.com reported on Tuesday.

As part of the campaign, the news site said that the PA's intelligence services summoned journalist Sameh Manasreh from Tulkarm on Sunday after he had taken part in the funeral of Palestinian activist Basel Al-Araj, who was killed by Israeli forces earlier this month.

Manasreh was locked in the headquarters of the intelligence services for a couple of hours and released in the evening. He was asked to report to the same agency the next day.

Read: Palestinian journalists protest against PA crackdown

The PA also arrested another journalist, Luay Shalaldeh, and investigated him for four days. After he was released, he said that he was investigated for taking part in public activities.

On Monday, the intelligence services also summoned Qutaiba Qasim from Bethlehem and questioned him for several hours. He was released and asked to return the next day.

The Palestinian Journalists Association (PJA) condemned the security campaign yesterday that it says targeted Palestinian journalists, with the aim of undermining their right to freely collect and impart information.

Read: Journalists and lawyers' unions to boycott PA

"The continuous hunting and arrests of Palestinian journalists and threats against them is a violation of their rights," a statement by the PJA said, noting that the PA threatens and arrests any journalists who report narratives about incidents which is different than its own narrative.

According to the statement, the PA's violations against Palestinian journalists is a "dangerous turn" regarding its commitment to the principles of free speech and freedom of expression recognised by international law and conventions, as well as the PA's own constitution.

The PJA announced its support for the affected journalists and called for the PA to stop its "aggressive" campaign against them.

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