Palestine: Hamas arrests journalist exposing corruption in Gaza

Journalist Ahmad Saeed, who exposed the alleged involvement of the authorities in smuggling citizens from the Gaza strip to Europe, was detained on October 31. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) in condemning the attack and demanding the de-facto government in Gaza, controlled by Hamas, to end its harassment of journalists and media workers.

Members of the Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas, demonstrate their skills during a graduation ceremony in Gaza Strip on June 2022. Credit: Said Khatib / AFP.

Police forces affiliated with Hamas broke into Saeed’s home and arrested him, while he was broadcasting live on Facebook about a boat that sank off the Tunisian coast on October 24, killing a number of Palestinians. According to the journalist, the smuggling operation was carried out in coordination with Hamas authorities in charge of the crossing in Gaza. He was interrogated and warned that he had "stepped into forbidden terriotry", before he was released.

Speaking to the media, Saeed said that family members of the persons allegedly involved in the smuggling operation stormed his house and threatened his family. He stressed that security forces did not protect him.

The PJS condemned the intimidation and threats suffered by Saeed, and demanded a committee from the union and human right organisations investigate the incident, to shed light on the attack and hold the perpetrators accountable. 

In a statement, the PJS said:“We stand in full solidarity with our colleague, and highlight that authorities in Gaza bear full responsibility for his life and must ensure his safety. [...] The authorities must respect independent journalistic work and guarantee that media workers carry out their duties without hindrances or obstacles”. 

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger added: "We demand Hamas stop their attacks and intimidations against journalists immediately. Our colleagues working in Gaza must be able to report freely”.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

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