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MADA condemns arrest of journalist in Ramallah

(MADA/IFEX) - On 31 January 2012, security services personnel arrested WAFA News Agency and Radio Ajial editor Rami Samara from his workplace at the agency's headquarters in Ramallah. Samara was released three and a half hours later.

The arrest of Samara came after he wrote a critical commentary about the last Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) executive committee meeting, discussing the results of negotiations with Israel in Amman on his page on the Facebook social networking site.

Samara told MADA that four people in plainclothes arrived at 1:00 p.m. at his workplace and remanded him to the military intelligence headquarters at Almoqataa, in Ramallah, where he was interrogated about his activities on Facebook and his critical comments about the Palestinian Authority.

Samara added, "They interrogated me for about three hours and then they asked me to sign a statement for my release, but I refused because they had written things that I had not said. Then they took me to the intelligence headquarters in Ramallah where I was interrogated for a further half hour before I was released after the intervention of my colleagues, who organized a solidarity sit-in protest in Ramallah demanding my release".

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) strongly condemns the arrest of Samara and the harassment of journalists who openly express their views. MADA demands that the security services respect freedom of opinion and expression, which is guaranteed under Article 19 of the Palestinian Basic Law.

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