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Media group calls on PA to release Bethlehem journalist

Nov. 11, 2013 5:49 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 12, 2013 9:57 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian media rights group on Monday called on the Palestinian Authority to release the director of a Bethlehem radio station, a day after he was detained by PA security forces at his home.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms said George Qanawati, Director of Radio Bethlehem 2000, was arrested by PA police forces on Sunday.

Bethlehem Radio correspondent Arica Zidan told MADA that 10 police officers, detectives and intelligence officials arrested Qanawati at 9 p.m. after attacking him and pushing his mother to the ground.

Ziad said she saw Qanawati on Monday at the public prosecutor's office and he told her he had been beaten during interrogation.

A lawyer was prevented from attending the interrogation session, she added.

"The arrest of colleague Qanawati and beating him constitutes a serious violation of media freedoms and condemned action, and we reiterate our demand for his immediate release and respect for freedom of expression in Palestine," MADA said.

It was unclear on what charges Qanawati was detained.

In January, Reporters Without Borders said that Palestine had risen eight places to 146 of 179 countries on the Paris-based media watchdog's annual press freedom index, but it still ranked in the bottom quarter of countries.
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