Sign up for weekly updates

Al-Aqsa cameraman released on condition he sever ties with station

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has condemned the hounding by the Palestinian Authority of Ossayd Amarneh, a cameraman for Al-Aqsa TV, who was released from jail on 8 October 2008 but forced to sign a promise to stop working for the channel under threat of being returned to prison. Al-Aqsa TV is owned by the Islamist movement Hamas.

Amarneh was arrested on 21 September 2008 after being summoned by Palestinian Authority intelligence services in Bethlehem, on the West Bank. Before being imprisoned he was taken to his home, where a search was carried out and the family computer and his working papers were seized.

The cameraman said the intelligence agents wanted to obtain footage of a meeting with the families of two Hamas parliamentarians, held in Israeli jails for two years, whom he had filmed in June 2008.

"Palestinian law allows me to do my job without obstruction, but by forcing me to sign this paper intelligence services have denied me my rights," he told Reporters Without Borders. "There is nothing to stop them from arresting me every time my work displeases them."

"The hounding of this journalist by the Palestinian authority must stop," the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "He has already been imprisoned three times in the last year for working for a media owned by Hamas. The conditions of his release are unacceptable and deprive him of his sole livelihood."

Amarneh, who has worked as a cameraman for Al-Aqsa TV since 1 January 2007, said he suffered constant humiliation in custody. "I was transferred to three different cells but never saw the light of day. The hygiene was appalling," he said.

A few days before his release, he was allowed out on permission to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, with his family.

Latest Tweet:

Bangladeshi authorities have banned more than 18,000 websites and apps as a part of a so-called “war” on pornograph…

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.