Last Updated: Friday, 19 December 2014, 13:25 GMT

Annual Prison Census 2011 - Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 8 December 2011
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2011 - Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 8 December 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f0420ab28.html [accessed 21 December 2014]
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, 2011

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory: 7

Walid Khalid Harb, Falastin
Imprisoned: May 8, 2011

Israeli authorities arrested Harb, director of the Hamas-affiliated Falastin, at his home in the northern West Bank town of Isskaka, the newspaper reported. An Israeli military court ordered that Harb be held in administrative detention. He was jailed at Nafha Prison in the Negev desert in late year, according to his employer.

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. No formal charges were brought by late year.

Authorities had arrested Harb before, in May 2007, CPJ research shows. His attorney, Tamar Pelleg, told CPJ at the time that she believed his work at Falastin played a role in that detention.

Nawaf al-Amer, Al-Quds
Imprisoned: June 28, 2011

Al-Amer, satellite program coordinator for London-based Al-Quds television, was arrested by Israeli authorities at his home in the town of Kufr Khalil, near Nablus. Al-Amer had previously worked for the London-based, pan-Arab daily Al-Quds al-Arabi.

An Israeli military court ordered that al-Amer be held in administrative detention for six months. 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. On October 26, Israeli authorities informed al-Amer's wife that the detention had been extended for another four months, local press freedom groups reported. No explanation was given for the extension, and no formal charges had been lodged by late year.

Al-Amr was working on a book detailing mistreatment of Palestinians being held in Israeli jails, his son wrote in an online article published prior to the arrest.

Amer Abu Arafa, Shihab News Agency
Imprisoned: August 21, 2011

Israeli authorities arrested Abu Arafa, a correspondent for the Gaza-based Shihab News Agency, at his home in Hebron, the news outlet reported. An Israeli military court ordered that Abu Arafa be held at the Ofer administrative detention center for six months, Shihab said.

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. His family told Shihab that authorities had accused the journalist of being a "security threat," although no formal charges had been filed by late year.

The news agency, based in the Gaza Strip, pursues an editorial line that is critical of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, CPJ research shows. Abu Arafa covered news in Hebron and the surrounding area for the agency, Shihab told CPJ. Shortly before his arrest, Abu Arafa wrote a story about the arrests of 120 Hamas members by Israeli authorities in Hebron, Shihab told CPJ.

Abu Arafa was arrested before, in May 2010, by Palestinian security forces, CPJ research shows. His father told Shihab that his son was taken from their home by the Palestinian Intelligence Services for reasons linked to his work. Two months later, a Palestinian court sentenced Abu Arafa to three months in prison and a fine of 500 Jordanian dinars (US$700) after finding him guilty of "resisting the policies of the authorities" in connection with his reporting, Shihab told CPJ at the time.

Raed al-Sharif, Radio Marah
Imprisoned: November 14, 2011

Al-Sharif, a journalist for the independent Hebron-based Radio Marah, was arrested after Israeli military forces raided his home in the southern West Bank town, according to news reports. He was ordered 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.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said al-Sharif was arrested for "suspected involvement in terrorist activity," according to the independent Bethlehem-based Ma'an News Agency. The Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate said in a statement that al-Sharif's arrest was an attempt by Israeli authorities to censor an independent journalist. No charges had been disclosed as of late year.

Local press freedom groups said al-Sharif had been detained for a short period in October 2010.

Ziyad Awad, Aswar Press Agency
Imprisoned: November 22, 2011

Hamas security forces arrested Awad, a photojournalist for the Aswar Press Agency, at his home in Gaza, the agency and other local news outlets reported. Agents confiscated his computer and other equipment, and placed him in a jail run by the internal security directorate, according to news reports.

No charges were immediately disclosed. Authorities said the detention was "security-related" but did not elaborate, Aswar said in a statement. The news agency noted that the arrest took place the same week Hamas authorities had detained or interrogated a number of other journalists. Aswar, which is critical of the Gaza-based Hamas government, said the detention was reprisal for its coverage.

Mahmoud al-Barbar, freelance
Imprisoned: November 22, 2011

Hamas forces arrested al-Barbar, a journalistic blogger, at his Gaza home and confiscated his computer and mobile phone, according to regional news reports. He was being held in a jail run by the internal security directorate, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicated said.

On his blog, Mahmoud Gaza, and in articles contributed to Arabic news websites, al-Barbar was critical of Hamas policies and what he perceived to be the government's lack of democratic principles. He has also appeared on television news programs to comment on want he saw as a lack of youth participation in the political process.

No charges were immediately disclosed. The arrest came amid a flurry of interrogations and detentions of journalists in Gaza.

Hani al-Agha, Al-Nahar News Agency
Imprisoned: November 24, 2011

Al-Agha, editor-in-chief of the Gaza-based Al-Nahar News Agency, was arrested by Hamas security forces at the Rafah Crossing as he was returning from a trip to Egypt, according to Al-Nahar and regional news reports. Three days later, security forces raided his home and confiscated his computer along with other work-related documents, the news agency said in a statement.

The journalist was being held in a jail run by the internal security directorate. Hamas authorities did not disclose charges against the journalist, saying only that it was "security-related," according to local news outlets. In its statement, Al-Nahar said the arrest was reprisal for the agency's critical coverage of the Hamas government. A number of other Gaza-based journalists were interrogated or detained in late November.

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