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MADA condemns escalating campaign against journalists

(MADA/IFEX) - Ramallah, 6 February 2012 - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) warns of the escalating campaign against Palestinian journalists by the Israeli Occupation Force (IOF), who most recently arrested Radio Bethlehem 2000 correspondent Suhaib Al-A'sa and photo journalist Omar Halaiqa on 5 February 2012.

Occupation forces raided the house of Al-A'sa in Al-E'badiya village near Bethlehem city at 2 am, arrested him and confiscated his mobile phones, recorder and his camera's memory cards. His brother, Fadi Al-Asa told MADA that Suhaib is being held in the Israeli Etzion compound and has yet to be charged for any offences or informed of the reason for his arrest.

Occupation forces also raided the house of Omar Halaiqa in Al-Shyoukh village, Hebron, removed his family from their home and forced them to stay
out in the cold for several hours while searching the house. His uncle Younis Hasasneh said: "After that, they took Omar to an unknown location. We then found out from the Complaints bureau that he is being held in Askalon interrogation center, but they still haven't told us the reason for his arrest”.

These violations are part of an ongoing harassment campaign against Palestinian journalists by the IOF, which includes the four-hour detention of a Palestine Public TV crew - photographer Najib Fraona and reporter Ali Dar Ali - last week and threats of arrest issued against Quds TV correspondent Linda Shalash on Friday 3 February 2012 in the village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah. IOF authorities also extended the administrative detention orders of Al-Quds programs coordinator Nawaf Al Amer for three months on Tuesday 26 January 2012, and PNN and Emirates newspaper correspondent Amin Abu Wardeh on Tuesday 31 January 2012, for the fourth time in a row. Israeli occupation authorities additionally issued the order for the house arrest of columnist Rasim Obiadat in Jerusalem city for six months on 31 January 2012.

MADA expresses its strong condemnation of this continuing campaign of Israeli violations against media freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territories and calls for the immediate intervention of international bodies and human rights organizations to bring an end to these violations, which stand in direct contravention of international laws of freedom of expression, particularly article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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