Hamas slams Palestinian Authority for its 'violations against journalists'

Hamas slams Palestinian Authority for its 'violations against journalists'
Gaza-based Hamas have accused the Palestinian Authority (PA) security services of 'waging war against journalists, in the West Bank.
2 min read
20 August, 2017
Hamas supporters carrying an 'Abbas does not represent me' sign in Gaza [Getty]

Palestinian Authority (PA) security services are "waging a war" on journalists in the West Bank, Hamas said in a statement.

PA authorities have arrested seven citizens, including five journalists, in the West Bank and summoned another to meet at the security service headquarters, according to the statement.

One detainee was severely beaten by the security services as the PA continues its crackdown against opposition journalists.

Hamas said in a statement carried by Safa News Agency that the PA police summoned al-Quds satellite channel reporter Walid Zayed from Ramallah and held him for several hours.

He was released on the condition of him returning for an interview on Sunday.

Al-Quds is known for its affiliation with Hamas, which has a tense relationship with the Fatah dominated PA.

The PA had also extended the detention of prisoner, Sameh al-Qawasmi, from Hebron for another ten days pending investigation.

Hamas accused the PA of "continuing violations against citizens in the occupied West Bank," adding that they "continue to arrest dozens, including journalists without any legal basis".

Earlier this week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas - whose presidency expired in 2009 - was criticised by rights groups for introducing an electronic crime law which punishes anyone seen to be "disturbing social harmony" online.

A new "electronic crime" law was ratified by the PA, cracking down on online dissent in the occupied territories, where social media is a popular platform for debate.

Anyone who is seen "disturbing social harmony" on social media faces 15 years of hard labour, according to the decree ratified by the Palestinian president.

Abbas reportedly issued the decree without public debate, causing outrage among Palestinians who see it as a serious infringement on freedom of speech.

Ammar Dweik, head of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights, said the new law is "one of the worst" since the Palestinian autonomy government was established in 1994.