IFJ condemns new extension of Palestinian journalist’s detention

*UPDATE: Omar Nazzal's detention without charges has been extended for the second time with 3 more months by Israeli authorities, media reported on 21 November. The journalist and union leader was expected to be released the day after.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joined its affiliate, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), in condemning the 3-month extension of the detention without trial of Palestinian journalist and member of the PJS board.

Omar Nazzal (54), who had been due for release for the first time on 22 August, was arrested without any reason being given on 23 April at the border between the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jordan on his way to Sarajevo to attend the General Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) as part of a PJS delegation.

“This arrest clearly reveals the level of targeting and persecution of journalists and their union by the Israeli authorities”, said the PJS in a statement at the time.

A military court ordered that he be placed for four months in administrative detention, an Israeli military measure allowing suspects to be interned for indefinite periods without charge. Israel accuses him, based solely on evidence which they refuse to divulge, of “participation in a terrorist organisation”. On 4 August he went on hunger strike for two weeks in protest against his detention as well as the abusive policy.

Philippe Leruth, IFJ President, said, “This Israeli policy of administrative detention is a violation of human rights, the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. We are extremely concerned that the Israeli authorities are extending this policy and that they are allowed to do so ad infinitum".

Three journalists have been detained under the administrative detention measures since the start of 2016 and there has been an increase of 35% in the number of journalists arrested since 2015. 19 Palestinian journalists and students of journalism remain in Israeli prisons according to media reports, one of them for more than 20 years now.


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