Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2008


Ibrahim Hamad, Ramattan
IMPRISONED: July 15, 2008

Hamad, a soundman with the Gaza-based Ramattan news agency, was arrested during a 4 a.m. raid by Israel Defense Forces at his home in the Kalandia refugee camp, near Ramallah in the West Bank, according to relatives and station staff.

According to Rami Hussein, Hamad's cousin and a fellow Ramattan journalist, Israeli authorities were holding Hamad in "administrative detention," which allowed authorities to jail him for up to six months without charge. The Israeli embassy in Washington had no comment about the detention when contacted by CPJ. Hussein said the journalist had been transferred to the Israeli-run Ofer Prison in the West Bank.

Hani Ismail, freelance
IMPRISONED: October 11, 2008

Hamas security agents arrested Ismail in an early morning raid of his home in Deir Al-Balah, in the Gaza Strip, the journalist's father, Ahmed, told CPJ.

Four agents searched Ismail's room at around 2 a.m., seizing his computer, cell phone, and another family cell phone, the father said. Ismail was a freelance reporter for a number of news outlets, according to numerous news accounts.

Agents specifically cited his work for the Fatah-affiliated Palestine Press, the father said. He was being held in Al-Saraya Prison in Gaza.

Akram al-Luh, freelance
Yousif Fayadh, freelance
IMPRISONED: October 12, 2008

Hamas security agents arrested al-Luh and Fayadh ?in early morning raids in Deir Al-Balah, in the Gaza Strip, according to local news reports and CPJ interviews.

Al-Luh's father, Khalid, told CPJ that security agents searched the family home at 1:30 a.m. Agents arrested al-Luh and seized his computer, two cell phones, and a camera, the father said. Al-Luh was a freelance reporter for Fatah-affiliated newspapers and news agencies, including Al-Hayat al-Jadida and Palestine Press. In July, Hamas banned distribution of Al-Hayat al-Jadida in Gaza.

Fayadh, who also wrote for Al-Hayat al-Jadida, was also arrested around 1:30 a.m. at his family home, his brother, Ashraf, told CPJ. Agents confiscated the journalist's computer and storage discs, his brother said.

Ashraf Fayadh said he believed the journalists had not been formally charged. He said his brother told him during a prison visit that he was arrested because of his reporting for Al-Hayat al-Jadida. Khalid al-Luh said that his son was accused of "writing articles against the government" and disturbing security.

Both families said the journalists were being held in Al-Saraya Prison in Gaza.

Saleh Masharqah, the editor of Al-Hayat al-Jadida, said he believed the two were arrested because of their journalism and political background, "They were well-known as journalists in the area. They were covering wide range of issues, from daily news to economy to politics," he said.

This 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.