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Annual Prison Census 2013 - Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 18 December 2013
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2013 - Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, 18 December 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/52b83bda5.html [accessed 29 August 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2013

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: 3

Walid Khalid Harb, Falastin
Imprisoned: March 10, 2013

Israeli authorities arrested Harb, West Bank director of the Gaza-based Falastin, at his home in the northern West Bank town of Isskaka, the daily newspaper reported.

After visiting Harb in Jalama interrogation center in April, his lawyer, Mohammed Abed, said that Israeli authorities had accused his client of supporting Hamas and facilitating the transfer of money to the West Bank, Falastin reported. Abed said Harb confessed to the charges, fearing he would otherwise be held in administrative detention. Under administrative detention procedures, authorities may hold detainees for six months without charge or trial and then extend the detention an unlimited number of times.

Harb's family told Falastin that he had spent about 18 years in prison, most of it under administrative detention. In May 2007, Harb was arrested and held in administrative detention for what an Israeli judge called his "recent propensity for military activity." At the time, the paper's editor, Mustafa al-Sawaf, said his work for the paper led to his arrest. His lawyer, Tamar Pelleg, also said he had been accused of being a prominent leader of Hamas. Harb did not deny knowing Hamas members but said his ties to them were purely social.

Harb was briefly released in 2011 before being arrested and put in administrative detention again, according to Falastin. He was released in late 2012.

Falastin is a daily that has published news on Palestine and Israel. It was licensed in 2006, and published its first issue in 2007.

In an interview with Falastin this year, Harb's mother said, "I am confident my son is arrested only for his profession and his journalistic writing, nothing more and nothing less." It is not clear how Harb continues to work for the paper while he has remained in detention for so many years. While in prison, he has published several books and novels dealing with the themes of religion and resistance to Israeli policies.

In August 2013, the Salem military court delayed Harb's trial by two months, the Center for Palestinian Prisoner Studies reported. He is currently being held in Megiddo prison, his family said.

Falastin did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Muhammad Anwar Muna, Quds Press News Agency
Imprisoned: August 7, 2013

Israeli authorities arrested Muna in a dawn raid of his house in Nablus, the U.K.-based Quds Press News Agency reported. The authorities also confiscated his computer, cellphone, and some papers, news reports said.

A military court ordered Muna, the Nablus correspondent for Quds Press News Agency, to be held for six months under administrative detention without disclosing any charges against him. Under administrative detention procedures, authorities may hold detainees for six months without charge or trial and then extend the detention an unlimited number of times.

Quds Press News Agency's correspondent in the southern West Bank, Yousef Faqeeh, told CPJ in November 2013 that the reasons for Muna's arrest were unclear but that the journalist had reported critically on alleged Israeli human rights violations in the West Bank.

It was not clear which reports were written by Muna because Quds Press News Agency, which is critical of Israeli policies, does not use bylines.

On October 7, 2013, the Ofer military court considered an appeal of Muna's six-month detention, Quds Press News Agency reported. The journalist was transferred to the Negev detention facility after the appeal was denied on October 29, 2013, the agency said.

Mohammed Abu Khdeir, Al-Quds and Al-Rai
Imprisoned: November 6, 2013

Israeli authorities arrested Abu Khdeir at Ben Gurion Airport as he was returning from a trip to Cairo, the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai reported. His house was also raided and authorities confiscated his phones and computer, news reports said.

Abu Khdeir, who writes for Al-Rai as well as the Jerusalem-based daily Al-Quds, was in Cairo to report on a recent Arab League meeting. His most recent articles, published the week of his arrest, dealt with a controversial draft law that would allow Jews to pray at Al-Aqsa mosque. The mosque is considered one of the most holy places in Islam, but it sits on the Temple Mount, which Jews consider sacred as well.

Al-Rai also reported that a gag order has been placed on Abu Khdeir's arrest. The Israeli courts often impose gag orders on the press concerning cases of national security, and local publications that violate the orders can face legal repercussions. Al-Quds has not reported publicly about the case and did not respond to a request for comment.

It is not clear what accusations or charges have been filed against Abu Khdeir. The Israeli Prison Service and Israel Airports Authority did not respond to a request for comment.

News reports said Abu Khdeir was being held in Be'er Sheba in the Negev desert, and his family and lawyer have not been allowed to visit.

In a separate incident in 2012 reported by The Associated Press, Israeli authorities demanded to strip search Abu Khdeir and several other Palestinian journalists attempting to cover a press conference by then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Abu Khdeir refused, saying Israeli and international journalists were not asked to undergo the same procedure.

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