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Palestinian journalists protest near Ofer detention center

Feb. 20, 2013 5:59 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 22, 2013 1:07 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – Palestinian journalists joined a sit-in strike Wednesday in front of Israel’s Ofer detention center east of Ramallah while an Israeli court held a hearing in the case of detained Palestinian journalist Amir Abu Arafah and cartoonist Muhammad Sabanah.

The protesters waved photos of jailed Palestinian journalists as well as posters denouncing imprisonment of journalists, and latest wave of assaults against Palestinian journalists by Israeli forces.

The sit-in strike was organized by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate. During the activity, head of the union Abdul-Nasser al-Najjar said Israeli forces intensified assaults against Palestinian journalists recently. He said several journalists were directly targeted during confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters in different locations. Al-Najjar added that dozens of Palestinian journalists were held in Israel’s custody.

Israeli forces clashed with the protesters near Ofer detention center in attempt to disperse them. “These ongoing assaults are Israeli attempts to hide information and prevent journalists from shedding light on the suffering of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.”

Similarly, director of the Palestinian media watchdog Mada Mousa Rimawi told the protesters Israel’s policy of detaining Palestinian journalists was ongoing for decades. Twenty-seven Palestinian journalists were detained in the last two years.

Wife of jailed cartoonist Muhammad Sabanah said she had no information about her husband and highlighted that neither medics, nor representatives of the Red Cross Committee were able to visit him.

Athar Sabanah added that she believed her husband was detained because he recently published cartoons focusing on hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s custody.

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