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Hona Al-Quds network office raided, equipment seized

(MADA/IFEX) - Ramallah, 3 April 2012 - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns yesterday's raid by Israeli occupation forces on community media network Hona Al-Quds' "Jerusalem is here" office, belonging to the University of Jerusalem, in the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem.

The director of the network, Haroun Abu Arra, told MADA that Israeli occupation forces raided the headquarters of the network, which is located in the Al Khalidiya neighbourhood in the Old City, before its official opening. He said the Israeli occupation forces confiscated equipment and devices, and demanded the evacuation of the headquarters by military order, which prevents its use without permission of official bodies in Israel. He also reported that occupation forces arrested two of the university staff present – Adel Rwaished and Mohammed Izhiman – and took them to an unknown destination. He said the occupation claimed the network belonged to the Palestinian Authority.

The raid and confiscation of equipment represents a new attack on media freedoms, and is contrary to conventions and international laws relating to freedom of expression. It targeted the media to prevent them from broadcasting the truth, especially in the Holy City, where residents live under difficult conditions as result of the blockade and settlements and efforts to force people out.

Yesterday's attack follows a similar raid on 29 February this year, when Israeli occupation forces stormed Al-Watan and Al-Quds Educational TV, in Ramallah, and confiscated equipment and documents.

MADA demands the international community upholds its responsibilities for the protection of media organisations and journalists in the occupied Palestinian territories, and pressures the Israeli government to return the equipment and devices confiscated from the Hona Al-Quds network Office.

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