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Hamas holds Palestinian journalist incommunicado

This statement was originally published on ifj.org on 4 September 2015.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today backed its affiliate, the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate (PJS), in urging Hamas to immediately release Palestinian journalist Shadi Ahmad Shaker Shaheen, who was arrested on 1 September. His family said they have had no contact with him since his arrest.

The PJS said that, according to the journalist's father, members from Gaza police stormed his house on 1 September and searched it extensively, destroying some of his belongings. They also confiscated the reporter's personal computer and camera before taking him to an undisclosed location.

“The PJS condemns these actions against our colleague Shaheen,” said the PJS in a statement. “We consider his detention to be a violation of both freedom of opinion and expression, guaranteed by the Palestinian law. It also undermines the positive atmosphere that pervades Palestinian society after the signing the Al Shati's agreement and brings us back to the old dark times.”

Shadi Ahmad Shaker Shaheen (30) was working for the Emirati newspaper Al Shoruq Al Arabi. The motive of his arrest remains unclear.

“We fully back our Palestinian affiliate and advocate for Shaheen's immediate release,” said IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. “Our thoughts are with his family and we share their suffering in the absence of news concerning their beloved relative who is detained incommunicado. His arrest and conditions of detention amount to a clear violation of press freedom and media rights which we strongly condemn.”

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