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Photographer injured while covering demonstration

(MADA/IFEX) - Ramallah, 16/5/2011 - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) strongly condemns the actions of the Israeli Occupation Forces on 15 May 2011, when soldiers opened indiscriminate fire on the participants of a peaceful demonstration. Dozens of unarmed civilians suffered moderate to severe injuries, including freelance photographer Mohammad Osman (25 years), and local radio correspondent Mohammad Bakr Allouh (23 years).

Osman was covering the March of Return, in commemoration of the sixty-third anniversary of al-Nakba. Marchers were heading to the Beit Hanoun crossing in northern Gaza Strip when Israeli Occupation Forces began firing live bullets at demonstrators. Osman was hit with live rounds to his chest and right hand and had to be evacuated to Kamal Adwan hospital for emergency treatment before being transferred to Shifa Hospital for surgery. Hospital staff is currently preparing to transfer Osman to Turkey for specialised medical treatment.

Also in Beit Hanoun crossing, on 15 May, Allouh, a correspondent for Sawt al- Watan radio, suffered severe effects from excessive tear gas inhalation and was evacuated for treatment to the Kamal Adwan hospital. Allouh's breathing returned to normal after 30 minutes of treatment and he was discharged from the hospital.

MADA considers the injuries sustained by Osman to be in clear violation of the laws governing freedom of expression and further condemns the continued Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists, particularly during their coverage of peaceful marches. MADA demands that the international community work to ensure the protection of journalists in the region and hold Israeli forces accountable for their continuous aggressions against Palestinian journalists and civilians.
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