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Cameraman's home raided

(MADA/IFEX) - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns an intrusion into the home of Aqsa TV cameraman and news producer Ammar Yasir Altilawy, in Khanyounis city (Gaza Strip), on the evening of 14 January 2010, by an armed individual who works for the National Security Forces.

MADA also condemns the attack on Altilawy in police headquarters, and calls for an investigation into the attack, and the punishment of those responsible.

According to Altilawy, "My house was raided on Thursday evening by an armed individual in a military uniform who is working for the National Security Forces, under the Ministry of the Interior in Gaza. The man, who entered my home under the pretext that he wanted my photographs of a military operation, took my laptop. He also left a message saying that if he did not find the pictures on the laptop, he would kidnap me by force."

Altilawy added: "After that I went to the police headquarters and I reported the incident and the testimony of a witness. They told me that they could not do anything for me because the individual works for National Security, and that I would have to come back to their office later."

"I went back to the police station with my father on Saturday (16 January) to follow up on the case. The officer on duty was one of the assailant's siblings. I asked him about my complaint as it was the third day and the intruder was still armed and free, and I was afraid that he would kidnap me. But the officer told me that he did not do anything. I insisted that I needed urgent help but he just told me to leave. I told him that I would solve the matter on my own," the cameraman said.

"The officer in charge told the other officers to beat me, and they did so with sticks and their feet. There were about 10 of them. When my father tried to keep them away from me, they also beat him. They took me to a room where they pushed me up against a wall, beat me and slapped me. The officer then ordered the soldiers to put me in jail. They also confiscated my mobile phone and some of my belongings. After an hour, someone from the police intervened and tried to convince me to apologize to the officer, but I refused because I had not done anything wrong. They finally released me with a warning."

Altilawy concluded, "This is the fifth day after the attack on me and on my home, and the police haven't done anything. On the contrary, when the officer heard that my story had begun to spread, he called one of my relatives and threatened to arrest and prosecute me".

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