Friday, February 11, 2011

Al-Quds TV correspondent detained in Bethlehem

8 February 2011- Ramallah: yesterday members of the Preventive Security Service prevented Quds TV correspondent Mamdouh Hamamrah from covering a teachers’ sit-in in front of the Education Directorate in the city of Bethlehem and transported him to their headquarters.

Hamamrah went to the Directorate of Education on Monday 7/2/2011 to cover a teachers’ sit-in at 10:45 AM, when a force of Preventive Security personnel approached him and his colleague cameraman, and took them to their headquarters in Bethlehem.

Hamamrah told MADA that the cameraman had been released after they had reviewed the photographic material, but that he remained in custody for a further two hours where he was interrogated about his work in Quds TV.

The detective considered his work at Al-Quds illegal and threatened to arrest him if he continued his work with the station, saying to him: "We will arrest you each time you work for Quds, which raise sedition."

Hamamrah added: "they made me sign a pledge that I will not violate the administrative system, I will respect Palestinian law, and will not work for the illegal formal channel in the West Bank - referring to Quds TV.

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, which they deem illegal, is a violation of Item 3 of Article 27 in the Palestinian Basic Law, which states: “Censorship on 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, his last one occurring on the 24th of December 2010.

The Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) denounces the harassment of journalists by the Palestinian Security Services and demands observation of Palestinian Basic Law, guaranteeing freedom of expression

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