Hamas security police move against journalists and social media
On Sunday in Ramallah, dozens of journalists protested the continuing arrests of their colleagues in the Gaza Strip at the hands of Hamas and the forced closure of a social media conference.
Palestinian Journalism Syndicate president Abd al-Nasser al-Najjar said he considered Hamas’ weeklong detention of journalists Salah Abu Salah, Mahmoud Abu Rayyah, Hani al-Agha, Ziyad Abu Ziyad and Manal Khames a violation of journalists’ rights and an offense against the current reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.
During the protest, al-Najjar called on Hamas to release the five journalists immediately and stop its attacks on public freedoms. He said journalists had an important role exposing Israeli practices in Gaza and helping reinforce Palestinian reconciliation.
“This protest is to stand as a syndicate and media body beside public freedoms in Gaza and against the practices of Hamas against journalists,” said Musa al-Sha’er, a member of the PJS.
Journalists also complained about Hamas’ forced closure of “Palconnect,” a Palestinian social media conference that was to take place in Gaza from December 4 – 6. The editor of the Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN), Khaled Abu Aker, said that Hamas secret police attacked the conference hall in the Lighthouse Hotel in Gaza and told all the participants to leave or be arrested.
Abu Aker also claimed the Ministry of Information in Gaza tried to prevent the secret police from breaking up the conference but couldn’t.
“We will do our best to solve this problem,” he said. “We are connecting with the Ministry of Information in order to continue the conference, which it authorized with the government in Gaza.”
Abu Aker said that the conference aimed to gather the social media activists from all over the world to “reinforce the social media culture” and encourage people to express themselves.
Hamas has been controlling the PJS building in Gaza since it invaded the building and confiscated computers and cell phones two months ago.
Hamas Forces Arrest Two Reporters In Gaza
By Saed Bannoura, IMEMC & Agencies
The Palestinian Journalist Syndicate in Gaza reported Tuesday that members of the Hamas-led security forces in Gaza arrested two Palestinian reporters; one in central Gaza, and the other in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
The two reporters were identified as Salah Abu Salah and Mohammad Awad.
The Journalist Syndicate reported that Hamas security forces broke into the home of Awad in Al Maghazi refugee camp, in central Gaza, and kidnapped him after confiscating his personal computer, documents and a camera from the house.
In Khan Younis, reporter Abu Salah was ordered to head to a security centre for questioning, and was detained upon arrival.
The Journalists Syndicate also denounced the Hamas-run Ministry of Interior for preventing it from holding a workshop in cooperation with the International Union of Journalists, marking the International Day to End Impunity, meant to demand justice and raise awareness regarding the failure of governments to prosecute assailants of reporters.
In a statement released Tuesday, the syndicate said that Hamas officials phoned some of its members, and informed them that they will not be allowed to hold the workshop.
The Syndicate demanded Hamas and its security forces end the violations committed against the reporters, and to prosecute those responsible.
British journalist Paul Martin was arrested Sunday at the Gaza City court house. His arrest is said to be connected to security violations.
Journalist Paul Martin has been arrested by Hamas security forces, Haaretz reports. Martin was arrested upon arriving at the Gaza City court house Sunday to testify at trial. The judge issuing the warrant for Martin’s arrest specified he be held for two weeks. He is believed to be held at Gaza’s central prison.
According to British consulate spokesman Fadi Adeeb: “We are urgently looking into the matter and following up with the responsible people so we can sort this matter out on the consular level.”
Martin had several weeks ago interviewed a Palestinian militant for an item which aired on a foreign television station.
Hamas, which administers the Gaza Strip, charged that during the interview the militant had revealed secrets harmful to “Palestinian
security,” and placed him on trial.
.Hamas police spokesman Ehab Ghussein said Hamas security forces have obtained confessions that Martin violated Palestinian law and the security of the state. He did not explain further.
‘Excruciating days': journalist Paul Martin recounts Gaza detention
BBC World Service
A British journalist arrested by the Hamas authorities in Gaza has been released after nearly a month in detention.
Paul Martin was the first foreigner to be detained in Gaza since Hamas took over in the Palestinian territory in 2007.
He wasn’t charged with anything but one Hamas leader has said Mr Martin was suspected of serious security offences related to his work as a journalist and of being in touch with Gazans suspected of collaborating with Israel.
In an exclusive interview for Newshour just hours after his release, the BBC’s Claire Bolderson asked him how he felt after 27 days in captivity?
I’m proud to say after 27 excruciating days I’ve come through well’
A video of the interview is embedded in th BBC report. Click here to watch