Human Rights Group Denounces Arrest of Palestinian Journalist
A Palestinian human rights group denounced Friday the arrest of a Palestinian journalist and rights campaigner, Mohammed Najeeb, by the Palestinian Authority.
In a statement, the Law Society said Najeeb, 30, was arrested in Ramallah by the General Intelligence Apparatus (GIA) on Wednesday and is still being held in custody.
Najeeb is the executive officer of Al-Sawt Al-Hur (Free Voice) organization, which deals with defense of the freedom of the press and of journalists in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
His arrest is the latest in a string of official Palestinian measures against the news media.
The director of Al-Sawt al-Hur, Maher al-Alami, was arrested in June and detained for several weeks after being questioned about a televised talk and articles he had written that were critical of the Palestinian authority, the Law Society said.
Najeeb himself was arrested a year and a half ago by the Palestinian police and held in custody for a month, but subsequently released without charge, the Law Society said.
Friday's statement did not say what charges, if any, were made this week. It said Najeeb had been summoned to appear at the GIA offices on Monday but that a promised "interview" did not take place.
It said he returned on Wednesday, as instructed. Later in the day, a GIA officer telephoned Najeeb's family to tell them to bring the medication for a condition of the nervous system that Najeeb suffers.
A brother of Najeeb delivered the medicine but was not allowed to see him.
"Law Society strongly condemns the arrest of Najeeb and views the arrest as being based on practicing the right to freedom of expression," the statement said.
"Law also views the arrest as a restriction to the right to freedom of expression" and "demands the GIA to immediately release journalist Najeeb."
Human rights groups have often taken the Palestinian Authority to task for its treatment of the media.
On June 2nd, the Palestinian Authority shut down a private television station in Bethlehem and arrested its director, Samir Qumsayeh.
A week before, it closed the privately owned Al-Nasr television and Al-Manara radio stations in the West Bank town of Ramallah, accusing them of criticizing its policies.
In addition, Fathi Barqawi, a journalist at the official Voice of Palestine radio station, was arrested on May 28th and released the following week - OCCUPIED JERSALEM (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)