IFJ welcomes the release of Palestinian union leader

© Isam Remawy

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joined its affiliate, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), in welcoming the release of Omar Nazzal, a board member of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, who was detained on 23 April 2016 by the Israeli authorities without reason. Following his release on 20 February, Nazzal said at the prison's gate: "I spent 10 months in jail. During this period, I was taken 13 times in front of the court and until now I still don’t know what my charges are!” Omar Nazzal (54) was arrested without any reason being given on 23 April 2016 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. “We managed to keep the case of Omar on all regional and international agendas. The pressure from journalists' unions around the world, including the IFJ and the Federation of Arab Journalists, have led to Omar's release,” said Nasser Abu Baker, PJS President. His detention has been extended twice since his arrest. The IFJ and its affiliates  mobilised their forces to demand his freedom saying that administrative detentions “represent a grave threat to media freedom”. Nazzal added that there were more journalists in Israeli jails and that "we will keep fighting for their release". “The release of Omar Nazzal, a committed union activist and strong journalist, is a relief for the whole journalism community," said IFJ President Philippe Leruth . "We will continue to fight against the targeting and persecution of journalists and their union by the Israeli authorities and any other government that tries to silence our colleagues around the world."

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