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Journalists arrested in Bethlehem

Feb. 9, 2011 8:53 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 11, 2011 11:19 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Preventive Security Service prevented two journalists from covering a protest Monday in the West Bank city of Bethlehem and then placed them in custody, a press freedom group said.

Quds TV correspondent Mamdouh Hamamrah was covering a teachers’ sit-in in at the Education Ministry in Bethlehem when Preventive Security personnel detained him and his cameraman, MADA said Wednesday.

Hamamrah said the cameraman was released after security reviewed the photographic material, but he remained in custody for a further two hours where he was interrogated about his work in Quds TV.

He said "they made me sign a pledge that I will not violate the administrative system, I will respect Palestinian law, and will not work for the illegal formal channel in the West Bank - referring to Quds TV."

"I then enquired about obtaining an official letter designating Quds TV as illegal, but I have not received any answer, they just told me to leave my work and look for another job."

Hamamrah has been arrested in the past, most recently in late December.

The security service’s continued harassment of Quds TV employees, which they deem illegal, is a violation of Item 3 of Article 27 in the Palestinian Basic Law, MADA said.

The law states: "Censorship on media shall be prohibited. No warning, suspension, confiscation, cancellation, or restrictions shall be imposed on media except by law, and in accordance with a judicial order."
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