The Journalist Support Committee calls for the support and backing of Palestinian journalists
The Journalist Support Committee in Palestine called on international bodies and institutions to support and backup Palestinian journalists by exerting pressure on the occupation to cease its repeated attacks against them and to release 26 journalists held in Israeli prisons.
The Committee in a report issued in commemoration of the "Palestinian Prisoners' Day", which falls annually on 17 April, emphasized that the occupation has intensified its attacks on journalists during the first quarter of the current year 2018, which led to the death of journalist Yasser Murtaja in the Gaza Strip, and the wounding and targeting of more than 92 journalists, including targeting and wounding of 49 journalists from the Gaza Strip during their coverage of the events of the Great March of Return.
The Committee pointed out that the occupation arrested and detained 45 journalists since the beginning of this year, while renewed 13 arrest and extended sentences including journalist Bushra Al-Taweel, while the toll of coverage prevention, in the first quarter of this year, amounted to 40 cases, including confiscation of more than 19 journalist credentials, identities, and equipment.
The Commission recorded 13 cases of storming and raiding houses of journalists, 4 cases of travel bans, and 6 cases of imposed to pay a fine before release.
In addition, concerning the detained journalists in the occupation's prisons, the Committee exposed in its report the toll of journalist prisoners amounting to 26 journalists, including two female journalists.
The report added that the number of journalists detained with actual sentences amounted to 5 after the release of journalist Salah Awad on Thursday, April 12, and serving his sentence, the journalist is considered an old prisoner of conscience for serving 7 years jail time. While remaining in captivity of prisoners of conscience are: Mahmoud Issa, Ahmed Al-Saifi, Hammam Atili, Yousuf Shalabi and Monzer Khalaf Mufleh.
The Committee noted that 6 journalists were still administratively detained without charge: Nidal Abu Akkar, Hammam Hintash, Mohammed Shukri Awad, Abdallah Shatat, Estabrak Al-Tamimi and Bushra Al-Tawil.
While 15 journalists are still detained without trial or charge: the sick journalist Bassam al-Sayeh, Ahmad al-Darwish, Nidal Omar, Montaser Nassar, Hamed al-Namoura, Mus'ab Sa'id, Ayoub Maazuz Sawan, Mahmoud Abu Hashhash, Radwan Qetnani, Yasin Abu Lefah, Musa Al-Qatmani, Ahmed Al-Arabid, Yasser Al-Arabid, Musa Salah Samhan and Alla Marshoud.
The Committee pointed out that there are blatant violations committed against the prisoners, such as the policy of extending the administrative detention of journalists without charge or trial, the issuance of unreasonable and illegal verdicts in the military courts, the arrest of journalist pending trial, the expulsion of others from their areas of residence and imposing of house arrest, as well as deliberate medical negligence against patients.
The arrests, according to the committee, are part of an approach aimed at obliterating the truth, silencing the free voices in order to conceal honest information about the violations committed by the Israeli against the Palestinian people.
The Committee called on international and human rights institutions to exert pressure for the release of 26 Palestinian journalists, activists and media students detained in Israeli jails and to intervene to assure the cessation of the policy of detaining and arresting journalists while carrying out their press duties.
It also condemned the Israeli occupation authorities for prosecuting Facebook activists and incarcerating a large number for issues related to freedom of expression and opinion, noting that Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights protect freedom of expression on the basis that everyone has the right to hold opinions without harassment, as well as Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and Article 13 of the American Convention for the Protection of Human Rights provide for the same right.
The Committee also called on the international community to protect Palestinian journalists and to activate mechanisms for accountability and prosecution of perpetrators of crimes committed by the occupying forces.
The Committee appealed to all journalists worldwide to strengthen solidarity with Palestinian journalists on the "Palestinian Prisoner's Day", and to channel their voices to the world and exposing the grave and systematic violations committed by the Israeli occupation forces.
The Committee paid tribute to the journalists detained in the occupation's prisons, especially the patients who endure harsh conditions lacking access to medical care, it also paid tribute to Palestinian journalists working in the field, defying obstacles, procedures and harassments committed by the Israeli occupation forces to prevent them from performing their professional duty in covering Palestinian events.
Journalist Support Committee - Palestine
16 April 2018