Monday, April 02, 2012

Freedom of the press, PA-style: Insult Fatah and get arrested

If you are a member of Fatah, and someone says something that offends you, you can make a quick call to PA security and demand that person be arrested. They'll be happy to do it for you. After all, what are friends for?

From Ma'an:
The recent detention of three Palestinian journalists in the West Bank are not based on security complaints but legal charges filed by individuals, the spokesman on the West Bank security services said Sunday.

Reporter Yousef al-Shayeb was detained a week ago, and on Wednesday a Palestinian court extended his remand for 15 days. He is being held while under investigation for "libel" and "defamation" over Jordanian newspaper article in January.

Ismat Abdul Khaliq was also detained this week after posting a number of comments on Facebook, and Tareq Khamis of Zaman press was briefly held on Sunday.

"The Palestinian Authority’s security services have no security-related problem with any journalist," Adnan Dmeiri told Ma’an.

Abdul Khaliq and al-Shayeb were detained "upon orders by the Attorney General and judiciary over legal charges filed by other people," Dmeiri said. He said three charges have been filed against Abdul Khaliq, without elaborating on the petitioners.

Earlier on Sunday, Palestinian Attorney General Ahmad al-Maghni said the preventive security had filed a complaint against Ismat Abdul Khaliq.

She posted a number of insulting comments which accused President Mahmoud Abbas of betrayal and called for disbanding the Palestinian Authority. The exact charges were not clear.

Meanwhile Tariq Khamis was interrogated over "something related to Ismat Abdul-Khaliq," Dmeiri said, also without providing details. Khamis was detained Sunday from offices of Arab Cultural Forum in Al-Bireh near Ramallah, and later released.

Al-Shayeb was jailed after a complaint filed by Foreign Minister Riyad Malki and Hael al-Fahoum, the envoy in Paris. His report in Al-Ghad newspaper documented corruption allegations against the Palestinian diplomatic delegation in France, the Palestinian National Fund and the foreign minister.

Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki on Thursday defended his role in the reporter's arrest, after the Palestinian journalists union held protests and called for members to boycott a press freedom prize announced by the PA days earlier.

"I'm surprised some journalists reacted emotionally on behalf of their colleague without hearing the other side's case, or considering for a moment if Yousef al-Shayeb is the oppressor or the oppressed," Al-Malki told Ma'an.
PA politicians are notoriously thin-skinned.

In the end, this shows that despite all the talk of democracy and liberalism and reform in the PA, it remains a Fatah terror gang who use the government to do what they please.