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Journalists targeted with tear gas canisters, rubber bullets

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 14 February 2012 - ANHRI condemns the ongoing campaign of repression launched by the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian journalists, including arbitrary detention and physical assaults while performing their job. ANHRI also expresses its deep regret over the deteriorating condition of freedom of opinion and expression in Palestine under occupation.

On 5 February 2012, at about 2:00 a.m. local time, Israeli troops raided the home of photojournalist Amr Halayga in al-Shoyoukh village, al-Khalil province, drove all his family members out into the bitter cold, and detained him without explanation. He is currently in custody in Ashkelon Center for investigation.

In another incident, journalist Suhaib al-Asa, who was also detained without explanation and without charge on 5 February, had his detention extended by the Israeli authorities on 12 February for 11 more days.

This is not the first time that al-Asa has been detained. He was detained twice during his university studies and was summoned several times for investigation. Al-Asa works for several media outlets, including Bethlehem Radio 2000 and Al-Jazeera Talk.

On 11 February 2012, four journalists suffered tear gas inhalation while covering confrontations between the Israeli forces and protesters near Ofer prison, west of Ramallah. They were targeted with tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. The four journalists are Essam al-Rimawy, a photographer for "Al-Hayat al-Jadida" newspaper, Reuters photographer Mohamed Turkman, Associated Press photographer Bernat Arnaout, and Sara al-Azraa, a correspondent for Palestine TV.

“The ongoing detentions and attacks on journalists are part of an organized campaign launched by the Israeli occupation forces to gag anyone who attempts to expose violations committed against the Palestinian people,” said ANHRI.

“Freedom of opinion and expression in Palestine suffer from the brutality of the occupation forces that master suppression by various repressive means,” added ANHRI.

ANHRI calls on the occupation forces to stop this campaign that violates the right of journalists and activists to perform their job in safe conditions.

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