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Quds TV correspondent detained in Bethlehem

(MADA/IFEX) - Ramallah, 8 February 2011 - Members of the Preventive Security Service stopped Quds TV correspondent Mamdouh Hamamrah from covering a teachers' sit-in in front of the Education Directorate in the city of Bethlehem.

Hamamrah went to the Directorate of Education on 7 February 2011 to cover a teachers' sit-in at 10:45 a.m., when a force of Preventive Security personnel approached him and his cameraman and took them to their headquarters in Bethlehem.

Hamamrah told the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) that the cameraman was released after officers reviewed the photographic material, but that he remained in custody for a further two hours, where he was interrogated about his work at Quds TV.

The interrogating detective called Hamamrah's work at the station "illegal" and threatened to arrest him if he continued to work for Quds TV.

"They made me sign a pledge that I would not violate the administrative system, that I would respect Palestinian law, and that I would not work for the 'illegal channel' in the West Bank," (referring to Quds TV) Hamamrah said.

"I then enquired about obtaining an official letter designating Quds TV as illegal, but I have not received any answer; they just told me to leave my work and look for another job."

The security service's continued harassment of Quds TV employees is a violation of Item 3 of Article 27 in the Palestinian Basic Law, which states: "Censorship of media shall be prohibited. No warning, suspension, confiscation, cancellation, or restrictions shall be imposed on media except by law, and in accordance with a judicial order."

Hamamrah was the victim of arrest and harassment by the Palestinian Security Service last year, most recently on 24 December 2010.

MADA denounces the harassment of journalists by the Palestinian Security Service and demands that provisions of the Palestinian Basic Law, guaranteeing freedom of expression, be upheld.

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