Israel jails dozens of Palestinian journalists without charge

Israel jails dozens of Palestinian journalists without charge
Israel has detained at least 43 journalists in the occupied Palestinian territories over the past six months, according to a damning report by a prisoners' rights group.
2 min read
17 April, 2016
More than 700 Palestinians are currently held under administrative detention in Isreali prisons [Hulton Archive]

At least 43 Palestinian journalists have been jailed without charge by Israel since October 2015, media activists have said.

According to a report by the New York-based Committee to Support Palestinian Journalists, the detained media workers have been victims of torture, medical negligence, and illegal rulings by the Israeli authorities.

The committee condemned the wave of arrests, and called for the journalists' immediate release.

At least four of the 43 journalists were released in February and March, while 20 others - including a female journalist and a media student - remain in Israeli prisons. Others have been transferred to house arrest.

The report, which marks the annual Palestinian Prisoners' Day, also said that three journalists were suffering from poor medical conditions.

Bassam al-Sayih is battling an advanced stage of cancer and Ali al-Ewawi suffers from ulcerative colitis.

Palestinian journalist Mohammad al-Qiq is still recovering from his grueling 94-day hunger strike that brought him close to death, the report said.

Qiq, who is currently receiving treatment in an Israeli hospital, began his hunger strike on 25 November in protest to his administrative detention.

In a statement released in March, Palestinian media freedoms group MADA said it was "highly concerned" by recent Israeli resolutions targeting Palestinian media.

It added that the group had neglected "the main reason for the whole conflict, which is the continuous occupation and all systematic violations against Palestinian people".

The watchdog also released a report last month showing that 2015 had seen an "unprecedented" increase in Israeli violations against journalists across the occupied Palestinian territories.

Palestinian administrative detainees are held without charge or trial, often on the basis of secret evidence, for periods of up to six months, which are extendable indefinitely.

More than 700 Palestinians are currently held under administrative detention, out of more than 7,000 Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, according to a report by the Palestinian Prisoners' Club.

The report also added that a number of detainees have spent more than ten years during different periods in administrative detention, without being charged or having access to a fair trial.

"Seventy-five percent of the administrative detainees' arrests were renewed more than once, and were arrested on the basis of so-called secret evidence, which prevents lawyers from seeing the case," the report read.