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PBC journalist arrested and beaten by Hamas paramilitaries in Gaza

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF strongly condemns the arrest and beating of journalist Faeq Jarada by Hamas' Executive Force paramilitaries. An employee of the Palestinian public television station PBC, Jarada was arrested at his home in Tal Al-Hawa, in the southwest of the Gaza Strip, on 10 September 2007 and was released the following day from Gaza City prison.

"Hamas has become a real press freedom predator," the organisation said. "This latest violation of journalists' rights is all the more unacceptable as senior Hamas officials were party to it. We call on Ismail Haniyeh to put an immediate stop to these arbitrary arrests and acts of intimidation against journalists."

When Executive Force paramilitaries first went to Jarada's home on 10 September, they abandoned their attempt to arrest him because of the protests of about 20 journalists, who immediately contacted the office of former Prime Minister Haniyeh. Jarada is a member of the Union of Palestinian Filmmakers.

Hamas spokesman Tahar Al-Nunu, Executive Force spokesman Islam Shehwan and interior ministry spokesman Ihab Al-Ghossayn, who are all members of the new Government Committee for the Media, then went to Jarada's home with the aim of escorting him to a detention centre for questioning. They, too, gave up the attempt.

Finally, a group of Executive Force members went back and arrested him two hours later, taking him to Gaza City's main prison. They also searched his home, seizing his computer, a camera and several videotapes.

Jarada told RSF he was beaten before being questioned about his work. He was finally released late in the afternoon of 11 September and was immediately taken to Al-Quds hospital because he was badly bruised and unable to walk.

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